Forgotten Brueghel goes for 780,000 euros

A painting by the Flemish master Pieter Brueghel the Younger that was recently rediscovered has been auctioned for 780,000 euros.  The work had been hanging on the wall at the home of a French family that had no idea they had an original Brueghel in the house. 

The Village Lawyer, a painting dating from the 17th century, hung in the room in which the French family had been watching TV for many years.  A member of the family bought the work at the beginning of the last century, but over the years the painting’s original provenance was lost. The French family simply thought it was a good copy and called it “Their Brueghel”.

The fact it was an original by the Flemish master came to light by coincidence.  The family had invited Malo de Lussac, an expert working for the Paris-based auctioneers Daguerre, to value another work. 

“I arrived in the poorly lit TV room and saw the work.  It was such a surprise, the biggest discovery of my career”.

The Village Lawyer was probably painted between 1615 and 1617.  It shows the busy office of a village lawyer.  It’s a big work measuring 112 cm by 184 cm making it the largest work by Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger was born in Brussels in 1564, the eldest son of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and brother to Jan Brueghel the Elder.  He’s above all well known for village scenes.  He also regularly painted canvases inspired by the works of his father.

The Village Lawyer was auctioned in Paris and bought by an anonymous Swiss collector.


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