Rubens House searching for six Wautier paintings


The Antwerp museum is launching a series of exhibition next year dedicated to Rubens’ influence on Baroque painters and is hoping to feature the work of a female Brussels painter

Where’s Wautier?

Antwerp’s Rubens House has launched an international call to locate six paintings by the 17th-century artist Michaelina Wautier. Curators are hoping to locate and borrow the paintings by next June for the first in a series of exhibitions recognising Ruben’s influence on Baroque painting.

Little is known about Wautier, who apparently lived and worked in Brussels. She was one of a very few women who sold paintings on the art market. Rubens House is looking specifically for a still-life called “Garland with Butterfly”, the counterpart to “Garland with Dragonfly”, which is part of a German collection.

“Garland with Butterfly” was last seen in the collection of a Paris gallery owner in the mid-1980s. It has since disappeared from view.

Curators are also hoping to find Wautier’s series called The Five Senses. Each of the paintings, described in some detail in catalogues from the 19th century, focuses on one of the five senses. They were auctioned twice in France in the late 19th century. A single black-and-white image (pictured), printed in the catalogue of a Paris auction house in the 1970s, is the only remaining illustration of any of the Five Senses series.

Anyone with any information about the works is asked to contact curator Katrijn Van Bragt at Rubens House.

Photo courtesy RKD-Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis