Studio of Peter Paul Rubens

1955.950.jpgFlemish (1577–1640)

The Holy Family Under the Apple Tree
Mid-17th century
Oil on panel
42 1/16 x 38 in. (106.9 x 96.5 cm)
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.950


  • E.L. Ruelens, Brussels (until 1883; sale, Brussels, April 17–21, 1883, no. 230, as “Attributed to Rubens”);      
  • James Walker;      
  • Mrs. Alexander Boyle (until 1898; sale, Christie’s, London, June 25, 1898, no. 58, as by Rubens; sold to Mr. A. Goens1);      
  • Mme. de Falbe, London (until 1900; sale, Christie’s, London, May 19, 1900, no. 21, as by Rubens; sold to Lesser Lesser);      
  • Lesser Lesser, London (1900–1912; sale, Christie’s London, Feb. 10, 1912, no. 89, as by Rubens);      
  • Herman van Slochem, Antwerp;      
  • Mme. van Gelder, Uccle, Brussels (until at least 1939, when Van Gelder lent it to the Worcester-Philadelphia Exhibition of Flemish Painting, Worcester, Mass., Feb. 23–Mar. 12, 1939, no. 124; traveled to Philadelphia, Mar. 25–Apr. 26, 1939);2      
  • [M. Knoedler & Co., New York; sold to Clark, Jan. 14, 1955];      
  • Robert Sterling Clark (in 1955);      
  • Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.


  1. As catalogued by Hans Vlieghe, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, vol. VIII (Antwerp, 1973), p. 92. He gives no further information on Goens.
  2. According to the World Jewish Congress’s Commission for Art Recovery, more than forty paintings from the Van Gelder collection were sold, probably under duress, for inclusion in Hitler’s Führermuseum in Linz, to Göring, who had his own plans for a collection of confiscated art at Carinhall. Additionally, works from the Van Gelder collection surfaced in sales at the Dorotheum, the state-sponsored Austrian auction house heavily used for “white-washing” looted objects. It is not known whether the Clarks’ picture was amongst the works sold under coercion during the war years, and the Art Loss Register has confirmed that the painting has not been reported to them. The second Consolidated Interrogation Report, compiled by art experts within the Art Looting Investigation Unit of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, does not include the Clark picture in the inventory of artworks sold to Göring’s agent from the Van Gelder collection in May 1941.

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