Frans POURBUS the Elder (1545/6 – 1581)

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Frans POURBUS the Elder (follower of)

(Dutch, born Bruges 1545/6 – died Antwerp 1581)

“Half – Portrait of a Noble Man“

Dated Upper Middle ‘1575’

Oil on copper, 16 x 13 cm.

Artist information:

Frans Pourbus the Elder was the son of the Bruges painter Pieter Pourbus (c.1523 – 1584), and father to the great international court painter Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569 – 1622). Born in Bruges in 1545, Frans the Elder was inevitably trained in his father’s studio, however, his main master was the Antwerp-based painter Frans Floris (1516 -1570), whose niece Susanna he went on to marry in 1566. By 1569/70 he was appointed a master of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke. Like his father, he painted both religious subjects and portraits of the rising mercantile class. He died of typhoid fever in Antwerp in 1581 at the untimely age of thirty-six. His pupils included most notably Gortzius Geldorp and his son Frans Pourbus the Younger.


See for an almost identical painting: C. Wright, Paintings in Dutch Museums. An Index of Oil Paintings in Public Collections in The Netherlands by Artists born before 1870, London, 1980, p. 373, as attributed to Frans Pourbus I.

Old Master Paintings: An illustrated summary catalogue, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst (The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts), The Hague, 1992, p. 243, no. 2106, illustrated, as Frans Pourbus (I).

Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Kersttentoonstelling van werken van eenige oude schilderingen uit de collectie Goudstikker, 1925-6, no. 17.

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