After 400 Years, This Forgotten Master Painter Is Getting Her First Solo Show
Hundreds of years after her death, an Old Master whose artistic oeuvre has long been underappreciated by wider audiences is finally getting her due, artnet reports. In 2018, Antwerp’s Rubens House will host the world’s first exhibition dedicated solely to Michaelina Wautier, a 17th-century Flemish painter.
Wautier has often had her work misattributed to other artists. Her self-portrait (seen above) was labeled as being by painter Artemisia Gentileschi in the 1905 book Women Painters of the World. Another work called Boys Blowing Bubbles listed Jacob van Oost—another Flemish painter of the era—as the artist up until a 2005 paper on Flemish patronage pointed to Wautier as its creator.
Boys Blowing Bubbles, housed at the Seattle Art Museum. Image Credit: Miguel Hermoso Cuesta via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0
Historians don’t know much about Wautier's life, except that she was born around 1617 in the Belgian town of Mons, and lived with her brother in Brussels for much of her life. Supported by the Austrian Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, she painted at least 30 works, including portraits, everyday scenes, historic images, and still lifes. Wilhelm owned at least four of her works.
It may be a little late coming, but Wautier's art is finally fetching proper attention—and compensation. Her paintings fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction in 2016.