'St Jerome in the Wilderness' by Sir Anthony van Dyck – SFr2.1m (£1.6m) at Koller.

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This painting of St Jerome in the Wilderness by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) sold to a private collector for SFr2.1m (£1.6m), well in excess of the estimate of SFr800,000-1m.

The 18½ x 15¾in (47 × 40cm) oil on panel, which had come from a European private collection, was last under the hammer in 2012 at Christie’s Amsterdam when it was catalogued as Circle of Sir Anthony van Dyck and sold for €22,500 including premium.

Authenicated work

Since then it has been examined in 2018 by Dr Susan Barnes who has confirmed its authorship and it is registered in the RKD (the Netherland Institute for Art History) in The Hague under no 241291 as an authentic work by van Dyck.

The panel also came with a dendrochronological analysis from the Jordaens/Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project in 2019.

In terms of composition, the Koller painting is closest to a large oil on canvas of St Jerome by van Dyck now in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, that also shows him clutching a stone in his right fist.

Van Dyck worked closely with Pieter Paul Rubens in Antwerp between 1616-20 (at one point in Rubens’ workshop as a freeman), although he also maintained his own Antwerp workshop.

With its thick and virtuoso brushwork, the St Jerome panel corresponds stylistically with van Dyck’s work from this period. It also seems to correspond to a small kneeling St Jerome listed in an inventory of Rubens’ estate, so Koller has suggested that it may have been part of the elder artist’s personal collection.

The auction was held on March 26.