'An Orphan No More': Recently Discovered Oil Sketch by Anthony Van Dyck

Exhibition Website

Sep 18 2019 - Oct 6 2019

A limited viewing of a recently-discovered oil sketch by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641). The sketch, owned by Hudson Valley collector Albert B. Roberts, is sure to make waves in the international art world.

“It is rare, indeed, for a work by a major master to come to light. The oil sketch that Mr. Roberts discovered by Anthony Van Dyck is an impressive and important find that helps us understand more about the artist’s method as a young man,” says Rev. Dr. Susan J. Barnes, Van Dyck scholar and co-author of Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings.

Long-time Hudson Valley collector and friend of the Albany Institute of History & Art, Albert B. Roberts has devoted the past thirty years of his life to the search for art that he likes to call ‘orphaned’; art that for one reason or another has been neglected, overlooked, lost in the shuffle of the art world in different countries, or perhaps a painter was absent-minded and allowed work to slip through the cracks.

After years of investigation, scholars have confirmed the artist and identified the painting for this oil sketch. Roberts reflects, “I suppose it’s not every day that a painting picked up for $600 with bird droppings on the back turns out to be a masterpiece of European Art.”

Scholar Rev. Dr. Susan J. Barnes worked with Roberts to authenticate the sketch: “Though the artist was about eighteen years old when he painted it (400 years ago), he was a precocious talent and already a master. The Roberts full-color and large-scale oil on canvas depicts an elderly man. It’s a study for Van Dyck’s finished painting of St. Jerome in the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam. Van Dyck painted his sketch from a living model, carefully rendering his furrowed, sun-weathered brow and time-worn body. His goal was to convey the sense of the saint as a real person— one with whom faithful viewers could identify and whom they could aspire to emulate.”

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Image: Anthony van Dyck, Study for Saint Jerome with an Angel (circa 1618–20), discovered by collector Albert B. Roberts. Courtesy of the Albany Institute of History & Art.

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