The Princeton University Art Museum Has Reattributed a Painting to Rubens

By Dirk Vanduffel - Friday, October 13, 2023
The Princeton University Art Museum Has Reattributed a Painting to Rubens

Two Princeton University Art Museum scholars, Ronni Baer, distinguished curator of 17th Century European Art, and Bart Devolder, Chief Conservator, have made a surprising discovery: a once overlooked painting, Death of Adonis, in the collection has turned out to be an authentic work by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens.

In an e-mail to ArtDependence the Princeton University Art Museum confirmed the painting, Death of Adonis, has been re-attributed to Pieter Paul Rubens. The painting was acquired in the 1930s. While originally thought to be a Rubens, in the 1990s it was dismissed as inauthentic under the label of “formerly attributed to Peter Paul Rubens.” However, It wasn’t until about thirty years later, when Ronni Baer joined the Museum in 2019, that the painting resurfaced for consideration. At Ronni’s request, Bart Devolder conducted a thorough examination of the painting while she reached out to colleagues and experts in the field. 

The painting was in real need of restoration and had a thick layer of overpaint. Bart has meticulously managed to clean up a portion of the canvas, revealing the quality of brushstrokes and line work that has –at last– made it possible to verify its authenticity.

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