Flemish Village Festival Painting, ca. 1600

Value (2009) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction

I got this from my grandmother when she passed away. We all got to choose a painting from the walls and I chose this one, which was always hanging in the dining room. And I was always intrigued by it.

Now, where did she live?

She lived in Argentina, but she's originally from Germany and then went to Holland. And I believe that the painting was stored in Holland during the war, when she left to go to Argentina and that they got it back after the war. All I know is what it says here, but that doesn't help me very much, because I don't know anything about him.

Well, the name given there is not the artist. The name on the label says David Vincke Boons, who was a Dutch artist working in the early 17th century. It's not by him, but it's in a style that is closely related to his style. These Old Master pictures are always intriguing. They're often not signed, as this is not. But it really descends from the artist Pieter Bruegel. Pieter Bruegel died in 1569, and this is certainly later than that, and my colleague and I talked about it. My original feeling was that it was perhaps around 1610. He thought more like 1590. So we're sort of in agreement. It's around 1600. I think it's Flemish rather than Dutch. And what it shows is a classic Flemish type of picture that descends from the art of Pieter Bruegel. That is, it's a village festival, or they call it a kirmiss in Holland. There's a banner here announcing the festival. It's sometimes the Feast of the Assumption, or it might be Pentecost, other religious festivals. But what happens is that everybody has a rip-roaring good time. We have a tavern. Everybody's in the tavern drinking. There's a dog worrying a bone outside. People are sitting outside eating. Here we have a first-class donnybrook, a real brawl. People are getting into a fight over something. Here we have a group of peasants dancing here, to the music of a bagpiper. Then over here we have the gentry. The lords and ladies are doing something much more genteel. They're in a boat, and there's an adorable detail here, where a lady is helping a child to debark. What's going on here is just wonderful incidents of country life and village life in the Netherlands of the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century. Now, this painting, I think, may not be attributable. One would have to look very carefully, compare a lot of other examples. Now, it's not in perfect condition. There are a few things I... this, for example. The sky has been abraded somewhat, and I can see repaint. The smoke coming out of the smokestack is clearly repaint. The people who buy these tend to be German. It's interesting. The market tends to be in Europe. So in this present market, I would say something like this would sell at auction for perhaps $10,000 to $15,000. In... a dealer would clean it up a bit. Ideally, what you'd do is have all the old in-painting cleaned off and take it down to the original surface, and then build up from there. But you need it done by the right person. And the right person is, alas, kind of expensive. Generally, the kind of people who buy these at auction are people who are either very savvy collectors or they're dealers. And they buy them in this condition with the idea of putting that amount of money into them. Let's say it would go for, say $15,000. Put another $15,000 into it, that's... he now has a cost of $30,000. But once this is really looking gorgeous, he can certainly sell it for $60,000 or $80,000. So restoration does definitely improve the value at retail. At auction, it's a little less clear, because once you've restored it, then there are people who... they wanted to do that, and you eliminate part of your market. I'm thrilled to see it, and thank you for bringing it today.

Well, thank you so much.

Appraisal Details

Doyle New York
New York, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Atlantic City, NJ (June 06, 2009)

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