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Peter Paul Rubens
Decius Mus Addressing the Legions

probably 1616
oil on hardboard, transferred from wood and canvas
80.7 x 84.7 cm (31 3/4 x 33 3/8 in)
Pierre-Louis-Paul Randon de Boisset [1709-1776], Paris; (his estate sale, Paris, 27 February 1777, no. 31). [1] Destouches, Paris; (his sale, A.J. LeBrun and Ph. Fr. Jueliot, Paris, 21 March 1794, no. 5); John Trumbull [1756-1843], Paris and New York; (his sale, Christie's, London, 17 February 1797, no. 25). Fritz August von Kaulbach [1850-1920], Munich; [2] (his estate sale, Hugo Helbing, Munich, 29-30 October 1929, no. 194). [3] (Frederick Mont, Inc., New York); sold 8 February 1955 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1957 to NGA.

[1] Julius S. Held, The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens. A Critical Catalogue, 2 vols., Princeton, 1980: 1:25, questions whether NGA 1957.14.2 was in this sale because the catalogue describes the work as being on panel whereas an old inscription on the verso of the painting once indicated that it had been transferred from panel to canvas in 1773 (see note 3). Held's reservations, however, seem unwarranted since the description of the scene (even though the subject is wrongly interpreted as "Germanicus à qui on harangue ou donne des orders à cinq officiers...") and the dimensions conform to the Gallery's painting.
[2] Oldenbourg, Rudolf, ed. P.P. Rubens. Des Meisters Gemälde. Berlin and Leipzig, 1921: 460.
[3] An inscription on the verso of the painting was recorded in the 1929 sales catalogue as reading: "relevé de sure bois et remis sure toile par hacquin en 1773." Colin Eisler, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian, Oxford, 1977: 105, lists the Newhouse Galleries, New York, at this point in the provenance; Mont was associated with Newhouse. The copy of the Helbing sale catalogue in the Knoedler Library German Sales microfiche is not annotated with a buyer's name.
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