Village Kermesse, Sebastiaen Vrancx

Sebastiaen Vrancx

Village Kermesse

Circa 1634

51.6x75cm, oil on oak


Sebastiaen Vrancx (1573-1647) was a Flemish Baroque painter, draughtsman, and designer of prints. He is mainly known for his battle scenes, a genre that he pioneered in Netherlandish painting. He also created landscapes with mythological and allegorical scenes, scenes with robbers, village scenes and celebrations in cities. He was a gifted figure painter who was regularly invited to paint the staffage in compositions of fellow painters. As an active member of a local chamber of rhetoric, he wrote comedies and a number of poems.
Vrancx was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1573. He was the son of the painter Francis Francken the Elder. He studied painting with Adam van Noort, who was also the teacher of Peter Paul Rubens. Vrancx traveled to Italy in the early 1600s, where he studied the work of Italian painters such as Paolo Veronese and Andrea Mantegna.
After returning to Antwerp, Vrancx began to specialize in painting battle scenes. His early battle paintings were influenced by the Italian style, but he later developed his own distinctive style, characterized by its realism and dynamism. Vrancx’s battle paintings were very popular and he received commissions from a number of important patrons, including the Spanish king Philip IV.
In addition to his battle paintings, Vrancx also painted landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits. He was a prolific artist and is estimated to have produced over 1,000 paintings. His works are found in museums and private collections around the world such as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium; Louvre Museum, Paris, France; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City and others.

On this lively village scene “Village Kermesse” we see over the door lintel of the house front right the inscription: dit huys is goed (this house is good).
Accompanied by a certificate by Friedrich Winkler, Berlin, dated 28 January 1931, where described as a “charakteristische … Arbeit des Sebastian Vrancx“ (in the original) / accompanied by a certificate by Max J. Friedländer, Berlin, dated 23 August 1931, in which the work is attributed to “Pieter Huys” (Friedländer having erroneously interpreted the inscription on the door lintel as a signature, see above) (in the original). ­On the reverse, with wooden support lattice.


Collection of the piano maker and industrialist Carl Bechstein (1826–1900), Berlin;
His son Edwin Bechstein (1859–1934), Berlin;
Collection Kurt Rohde, Berlin (as Droochsloot);
Collection Elisabeth Rohde, Berlin;
Private collection, Zurich, Switzerland

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