Included in a sale of paintings, furniture and works of art held by Ferri at Hotel Drouot, The Judgment of Paris was estimated of €6000-8000 after being catalogued by the firm of experts, Cabinet Turquin.
Painted on a strengthened oak panel and measuring 19in x 2ft 1in (49 x 64.5cm), it bore a manuscript label to the reverse reading Le Jugement de Paris/par Rubens and a similar ink inscription to the frame.
Compositionally, it links to a work by Rubens of the same title in the National Gallery, London, and to a sketch believed to be by the workshop in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden to which this work compares in size.
In the Ferri catalogue, it was ascribed as 17th century Flemish School, workshop of Peter Paul Rubens. Cabinet Turquin’s Eric Turquin told ATG that they had studied and researched the work for three months before the auction and felt it was “a real workshop painting, that is of the period and something done under the direction of the master with or without his participation”.
The expert also said they made an enquiry and sent a photograph of the painting to the research centre in Antwerp, The Rubenianum, but the centre did not think it was either by Rubens or from his studio.
Accordingly, the it was offered at the June 10 auction with a cautious guide to “let the market decide”.
In the event there was considerable interest from the room, online and via the phones, taking the final price to no less than €1.56m.
Another picture drawing interest at a Hotel Drouot sale two days earlier was a fine pastel portrait by Jean-Baptiste Perroneau of fellow artist Aignan Thomas Desfriches. Offered at Eve’s sale on June 8, it was pre-empted by the Fine Art Museum of Orleans for €330,000 (£275,000).
£1 = €1.2