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Title: Adoration of the Magi
Date: c.1505
Artist: follower of Hugo van der Goes
South Netherlandish, c.1440–1482
Medium: oil on panel
Dimensions:
50 3/4 x 40 in. (128.9 x 101.6 cm)
framed: 58 1/2 x 48 1/2 in. (148.6 x 123.2 cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object Number: 93:1926
Place made: Belgium
Current Location: On View, Gallery 237
Notes:
Before a magnificent landscape of hills and cliffs, three opulently dressed Magi present the Christ Child with exotic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The flamboyant kings contrast with the two simple shepherds who strain to observe the scene as they peer on either side of the half column behind the Holy Family. The three different ages and nationalities of the Magi, as well as the distinction between the poor shepherds and wealthy kings, symbolize the universality of Christ’s mission. Following Northern traditions of architectural symbolism, the dilapidated building at right denotes the collapse of a previous religious order. The stone steps on which Mary and her baby sit suggest the foundation of a new one.
Signed: unsigned
Provenance
by 1902 - still in 1914
van den Corput collection, Brussels, Belgium [1]

by 1925 -
Paul Jean Cels, Brussels, Belgium

1925/11/04
In auction "Old Masters and Early American Portraits," at the sale of the estate of the late Paul Jean Cels by Anderson Galleries, New York, NY, USA, on November 4, 1925, lot no. 153 [2]

Victor G. Fischer, Washington D. C. [3]

- 1926
The Ehrich Galleries, New York, NY

1926 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from the Ehrich Galleries [4]


Notes:
The main source for this provenance is the 1984 catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 8 [Silver, Larry. "The Paintings of Quinten Massys." Montclair, NJ: Allanheld & Schram, 1984, cat. no. 8, p. 198]

[1] According to a 1902 exhibition catalogue, the painting was in the van den Corput collection at this time [Loo, George H. de. "Exposition de Tableaux Flamands des XIVe, XVe, et XVIe Siècles: Catalogue Critique." Gand: A. Siffer, 1902, cat. no. 326, p. 88; Friedlander, Max. "Die Altniederlandische Malerei." Berlin, 1909, vol. 7, p. 123; (Reprint) New York; Washington: Praeger Publishers, 1971, cat. no. 59a, p. 66]. Joseph Destrée also lists this painting in van der Corput's collection at the time of his 1914 publication [Destrée, Joseph. "Hugo van der Goes." Brussels: G. van Oest & Co., 1914, p. 174]. It is unknown when the painting left the collection.

[2] In the 1925 sales catalogue, the painting is listed as being owned by Paul Jean Cels ["Old Masters and Early American Portraits from the Estate of the late Dr. George R. Reuling, Baltimore, Maryland sold by the order of his daughter Mrs. Marie R. Pleasants; from the Estate of the late Paul Jean Cels of Belgium." Anderson Galleries, November 4, 1925, New York, NY, lot no. 153].

[3] Several variations of Fischer's name are used to refer to his ownership including: "Victor G. Fischer" (Getty Provenance Index), "with Fischer, Washington" (SLAM accession records), and Fischer Galleries (Silver's 1984 catalogue raisonné, see note above). Despite the discrepencies, it is evident that Fischer owned the work and most likely bought it at the 1925 sale of the Cels' collection in New York (see note [2]).

[4] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control, June 11, 1926.

Exhibition History
Title: Ideal (Dis-)Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer
Date: October 24, 2008–October 3, 2009
Venue: Pulitzer Arts Foundation
Title: Textiles of the World
Date: March 18 – May 30, 1994
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Publication History
Title: Old Masters and Early American Portraits from the Estate of the late Dr. George R. Reuling, Baltimore, Maryland sold by the order of his daughter Mrs. Marie R. Pleasants; from the Estate of the late Paul Jean Cels of Belgium
Author: Anderson Galleries
Title: The Paintings of Quinten Massys with catalogue raisonné
Author: Larry Silver
Title: Northern Renaissance Paintings: The Discovery of Invention
Periodical Title: The Saint Louis Art Museum Bulletin
Author: Molly Faries
Author: Maryan Wynn Ainsworth
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Die Altniederlandische Malerei
Author: Max J. Friedländer
Title: Das Werk des Hugo van der Goes
Year Published: 1964
Title: Early Netherlandish Painting: Quentin Massys
Author: Max J. Friedländer
Title: Hugo van der Goes
Author: Joseph Destree
Title: Early Northern European Paintings
Periodical Title: The Saint Louis Art Museum Bulletin
Author: Larry Silver
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Exposition de Tableaux Flamands des XIVe, XVe et XVIe Siècles: Catalogue Critique
Author: Georges Hulin de Loo
Title: Notes and Queries
Periodical Title: Connoisseur
Author: G. B. Littlewood
Title: The Adoration of the Magi
Periodical Title: The Masterpiece of the Week
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
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