THE DRAWINGS OF REMBRANDT:  

a revision of Otto Benesch's catalogue raisonné

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Benesch 201-300

 

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Benesch 0201

Subject: Two Peasant Men in Discussion

Verso: Laid down.

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with brown wash. Some later retouches.

103 x 63.

COMMENTS: Despite some rather unprepossessing qualities and hesitations, the strength of the characterisations and the style of some passages of drawing, for example in the figure on the left’s left lower leg which seems especially like Benesch 500a, suggest that this sketch could be autograph. The weaknesses down the side of the figure on the left, near the lip of the sheet, may have been exacerbated by an attempt to erase an architectural motif at the very edge of the paper. Nonetheless hesitation is due, owing to the fact that so much of the drawing has the dull, sluggish tempo of a copy; nowhere does Rembrandt’s customary zest really shine through (cf. drawings such as Benesch 0230-0231). Compare also Benesch 0202 and 0669, especially for the shading. None of the documentary drawings can be commandeered to help bolster the attribution to Rembrandt himself, but the use of iron-gall ink places the sketch circa 1638-39..

Condition: Generally good, though trimmed and retouched.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt? (After Rembrandt?)

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: D Frankfurt, Städel Museum (inv.852)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.337 (early); Frankfurt, 1913[?], xx Lieferung, no.8; Exh. Frankfurt, 1926, no.355; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.201, repr. (c.1632-33; compares Benesch 0079, Benesch 0232 and foreshadows etchings, Bartsch 177-78 [NH 131-32]); Exh. Frankfurt, 1991, no.23 (c.1634); Exh. Frankfurt, 2000, no.57 (c.1640; records verbal opinions: the drawing doubted by Schatborn 1998, but compared in 1999 by Royalton-Kisch with Benesch 0669 and 0500a); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, senior (L.2184; his mark reinforced by a later hand in pen and brown ink); John Barnard (L.1419); Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); Johann Friedrich Städel (1728-1816), the founder of the present repository.

First posted 28 August 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0202

Subject: An Old Man and a Young Woman Walking

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

149 x 98.

COMMENTS: The style is close to Benesch 0072 and especially to Benesch 0232, suggesting a date in the second half of the 1630s. However, the documentary drawing Benesch 500a with its comparable passages of detail and shading argues for a date in the early 1640s, although the degree of detail here, for example in the woman’s face, is unusual (among the documentary drawings one might point to Benesch 0336, which must, however, be earlier). Compare also Benesch 0606.

Despite the poor condition of the sheet, the unhesitating lies throughout encapsulate enough of Rembrandt’s own style to accept it as autograph, albeit with some caution. The motif seems partly to anticipate the couple in the Hundred Guilder Print, studied in Benesch 0185.

Condition: Poor – has probably been washed; spots from foxing have been disguised.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-40?

COLLECTION: D Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett (inv. C 1899-44)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, I, 148a; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.272 (c.1635); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, no.79; Benesch, 1947, no.23, repr.; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.202, repr. (c.1632-33; compartes Benesch 0081, 0232, 0391); Exh. Dresden, 1960, no.7; Scheidig, 1962, no.9, repr.; Slive, I, 1965, pl.153; Sumwoski, 1979 etc., vi, Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.100, repr.; Exh. Paris, 2006, no.63, repr. (c.1632; compares Benesch 0224, 0230 and 0232, and 1648 etching Beggars Receiving Alms, Bartsch 176; NH 243); Schatborn, 2019, no.327, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Francis Seymour Haden (L.1227); his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 15 June 1891 and following days; Edward Habich (L.862); his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 27 April, 1899 and following days, lot 542, where purchased by the present repository.

First posted 29 August 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0203

Subject: A Seated Woman, Reading

Verso: Head of a Man in a Turban

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with brown wash; touched on the recto with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

Inscriptions: lower left by a later hand, in brown ink: “Rembrant.”; verso in red chalk: “13” and “1395” and in graphite: “Rembrandt. Del.”

161 x 172. No watermark; chain lines: 25h.

COMMENTS: A fine and characteristic study in iron-gall ink of c.1638-39.[1] Many of these studies appear to depict people in the artist’s immediate entourage. Among the most similar is Benesch 0249, which shows an older and less myopic woman reading. The documentary drawing, Benesch 0168 of c.1638, which also shows a woman reading, may have been made at around the same time.

Condition: good; some iron-gall ink ‘burn’.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (L. 1606; inv. KdZ 1112)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, I, 21; Michel, 1890, p.45; Michel, 1893, p.572; von Seidlitz, 1894, p.121; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.133 (c.1635); Saxl, 1908, p.229 (c.1638, Saskia the model); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, nos 121-22 (c.1635); Lugt, 1921, no.2438 and 1975B (collectors’ marks); Berlin, 1930, p.233, repr. pl.168 (c.1635); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.239; Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-33); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.203, repr. (c.1633; compares Benesch 0060 for date, also Benesch 0204 and 0218; verso a sketch for Benesch 0074); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.52 (c.1635); Sumowski, 1956/7, p.255 (c.1633); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, under no.34 (c.1635-39); Slive, 1965, no.21 (c.1636-39); Sumowski, 1979 etc., vi, 1982, under no.1521bxx; Exh. London, 1992, under no.30 (c.1639); Berlin, 2006, no.20, repr. (c.1638-39; compares Benesch 0249 [erroneously footnoted as 0272], Benesch 0218-19, 0423 and 0442 and the verso as London, 1992 [Benesch 0207 verso] and Benesch 0157); Schatborn, 2019, nos 320 [recto] and 321 [verso], repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Unknown eighteenth-century English collector (L.2925); Karl Ferdinand Friedrich von Nagler (L.2529); purchased with his collection in 1835 by the present repository.

[1] The date from the datable documentary drawings Benesch 0157, 0161, 0168, 0423 and 0442.

First posted 29 August 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0204

Subject: A Seated Woman Reading, Wearing a Veil, profile to left

Medium: Pen and brown ink; inscribed lower right with the letter: "R"

130 x 100.

COMMENTS: The drawing has been ignored since Benesch included it in his 1954/73 corpus, and had not been published before. Although related in motif to drawings such as Benesch 0203 and 0249, the style here is different and hesitant almost throughout. The parallel shading down the figure’s back seems especially un-Rembrandtesque. (Only in the lower skirt does the pen move with a Rembrandtesque verve.) It retains an interest as a work probably made in the immediate vicinity of Rembrandt, and might even depend on a lost drawing. Benesch noted that the right-hand page of the book features a heart pierced diagonally with arrows. This might be an illustration from an emblem-book concerning love.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-40

COLLECTION: D Ulm, Ulmer Museum (Strölin bequest)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.204, repr. (c.1633; a heart with crossed arrows visible on the book; compares Benesch 0203 and 0249); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: A. Strölin, Lausanne; by descent (via Paris) until bequeathed to the present repository (c.2009).

First posted 1 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0204a

Subject: A Seated Scholar in a Barret at his Desk

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

Inscriptions: lower left, in graphite: “h.” [?]; verso, in graphite, with names of Somers and Speelman and the sale in 1769, presumably in fact referring to 1769 (see Provenance); and "Hague", and "K.T. [...]" [?]

153 x 163. Fine laid lines; chain lines c.20h.

COMMENTS: Among the most vigorous drawings ever attributed to Rembrandt, executed with exceptional speed and verve, and combined with a credible characterisation of the scholar in his study, it comes as a surprise to find that it cannot be accepted as the master’s own work – at least, not without an unacceptable leap of faith. For this reason a slightly extended discussion seems warranted here.

The drawing is marked chiefly by energetic shading that has apparently ‘run wild’, so that the calligraphic effect takes over and dominates the representational aspect of the scene. This alone is unusual for Rembrandt, as we will see. Those familiar with etching will also recognise how the lines throughout are applied with almost uniform and firm pressure, a lighter touch (like a first etching bite) detectable only in the shadow at the lower right. The result is that the drawing resembles the reproductions of old master drawings made by etchers in the 18th century more than works by Rembrandt.[1] These qualities cannot be replicated among Rembrandt’s documentary drawings, despite the fact that many of them do contain some areas of comparable verve: between c.1634-1640 one might point to Benesch 0141 recto, among Rembrandt’s most purely calligraphic sketches, but in which the shading is generally precise and modest in quantity. The broadly made sketch for the Jewish Bride, Benesch 0292, offers no real analogies and much the same may be said for comparisons with the documentary sheets, Benesch 0445, Benesch 0482 and Benesch 0759. In none of them does the shading or the penwork generally ‘run wild’ as we see here; rather, the shading is applied moderately and judiciously, usually with a significantly lighter touch. In Benesch 0336, a documentary drawing in which the faces are carefully characterised, the whole approach to delineating facial features looks decidedly different.

As noted in the Introduction (under the 'About' tab) the documentary drawings may not reveal every aspect of Rembrandt’s various and varied drawing styles, yet comparisons with the many other drawings still attributed to him provide scant, if any, support for the present work’s traditional attribution. Benesch 0120 shows a similar subject, but could hardly be more different; much the same applies to Benesch 0293, which gives an unsurpassed idea of Rembrandt’s drawing style at its most lively. Two passages of shading in Benesch 0416, in the umbrella and its shadow, come closer, like those in Benesch 0099, but the figures in both drawings are completely different.

The rather unwieldy pen style is however found in some works from Rembrandt’s circle, such as Benesch 0062, 0070 and 0078 (in 0078, the hatching under the angel's wing is especially comparable). These are now generally thought to be by Govert Flinck and provide many analogies. There are also links with Benesch A12 and A59, also thought to be drawings by Flinck.[2] Yet Benesch 0390, the most satisfactory of the comparisons made by Benesch, though generally more lightly touched with the pen, in the shadows at the lower right resembles the shading in the present work closely. One might also point to Benesch 0108 and to the vigour of Benesch 0074, as well as Benesch 0294, analogies that suggest Gerbrand van den Eeckhout is the draughtsman here.

It is worth remarking that the paper is uncharacteristically thin for a Rembrandt drawing, with extra-fine laid lines and narrow chain lines.

Iconographically, the motif of a scholar resting his head on his chin is often associated with representations of Melacholia, a common theme in the work of Rembrandt and his circle, although not certainly the intention here.[3]

A comparable subject was drawn by Govert Flinck, perhaps at around the same time.[4]

Condition: trimmed at top; several small holes and minor stains and general staining around the edges, from old glue on the verso.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout? / Govert Flinck??

Date: c.1638-40?

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute (Seilern Collection, inv. D.1978.PG.180)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.204a, repr (c.1632-33; compares Benesch 0060, 0061, 0068, 0203 and 0390); London, 1961, no.180 and Addenda, repr. (as Benesch, 1954); Slive, 1964, p.276; London, 1971, p.58; Sumowski, 1979 etc., IV, under no.979xx; Exh. London, 1981, no.146 (c.1632-33); Exh. London, 1983, no.3; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Lord John Somers; sale, Paris, Rémy, 10 December 1759 (?); M.H. Speelman (see Inscriptions above); H.J. Bhabha, London; acquired in Paris in 1959 by Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository in 1978.

[1] One might compare an etching such as that by Simon Watts after Benesch 0606 published in Charles Rogers, “A Collection of Prints in Imitation of Drawings”, vol.II, 1765, viewable at:

http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk/cgi-bin/foxweb/huntsearch/LargeImage.fwx?collection=all&catno=9072&mdaCode=GLAHA&filename=9072.JPG (consulted 2 September 2015). The subtleties of the original drawing are skilfully imitated, yet fall short of and flatten the optical effect of the original.

[2] For Benesch A12, see London, 2010 (online), Flinck no.3. For Benesch A59, see Rotterdam, 1988, no.75, repr. and Schatborn, 2010, pp.15-17, repr. fig.17 (in both cases as by Flinck).

[3] Some examples are discussed by Lütke Notarp, 1998, pp.217ff..

[4] Sumowski, 1979 etc., no.979xx and Exh. Amsterdam, 1999, pp.57-58.

First posted 4 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0205

Subject: Standing Man, to right, his arm outstretched

Verso: See Inscriptions.

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with light brown wash; ruled framing-lines in pen and brown ink.

Inscriptions: verso, centre, in graphite: “Coll. Desperet, W. Mayor”.

112 x 54. Watermark: none; chain lines: 23v.

COMMENTS: The pose of the man, who seems to be cut from a larger sheet, resembles that of Jacob in Benesch 0606, but in style the figure looks earlier: the use of iron-gall ink on paper prepared in brown wash is more typical of drawings made in c.1638-39 and it compares well with Benesch 0423, not least in the zig-zag shading. A date c.1639 therefore seems appropriate. The figure was traditionally identified as a beggar holding out his hand for alms, but this seems unlikely - he could equally be a baker or other merchant receiving payment.

Condition: somewhat spotted at the edges, otherwise good; presumably trimmed from a larger sheet.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1639

COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Rijksprentenkabinet (RP-T-1930-37)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Leiden, 1903, no.31; Exh. Leiden, 1906, no.62; Hofstede De Groot, 1906, no.1283 (early; gives provenance, represents a beggar); Exh. Leiden, 1916, no.19; Seidlitz, 1917, p.253; Exh. The Hague, 1930, no.39 (c.1635); Amsterdam, 1942, no.14 (c.1632); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.205, repr. (c.1632-33; compares Benesch 0074); Exh. Amsterdam, 1965-66, no.10 (c.1632-33); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.2, n.1 (c.1630); White, 1978, under no.68; Amsterdam, 1985, no.18, repr. (c.1641); London, 2010 (online), under no.34, n.4 (compares Benesch 0606).

PROVENANCE: E. Desperet (L.721)[1]; his sale, Paris, 12-13 June, 1865, lot 278 [with Benesch 0328]; William, Mayor, London (L.2799[1]; Mayor Catalogue, 1871, under no.363; Hogarth, 1875, under no.631); Max Freiherr von Heyl zu Herrnsheim, Darmstadt; his sale, Stuttgart, 25-26 May, 1903, lot 241 (130 marks); F. Meyer, Dresden; Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, The Hague, by whom presented to the present repository in 1906 with a life interest (which lasted till 1930); Schatborn, 2019, no.350, repr. (c.1639).

[1] These collectors’ marks have been erased or covered up, according to Amsterdam, 1985, no.18.

First posted 14 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0206

Subject: A Beggar and Beggar-Woman

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

127 x 111.

COMMENTS: The drawing resembles Benesch 0010, 0023a and 0027 and Benesch 0035 sufficiently to come into contention as an original by Rembrandt of c.1629. For this reason the drawing is accepted here. This is despite some disappointing features (eg. the hands of the woman). There is some left-handed shading in the face of the beggar which is also troubling. The beggar on the right resembles the etching of a Ragged Peasant (Bartsch 172, NH 47).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1629.

COLLECTION: USA Washington, National Gallery of Art (inv. 1991.217.7).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hind, 1908, no.26 (compares etchings Bartsch 172 and 178 [NH 47 and 132]); Bauch, 1933, p.204, repr. fig.111 (Leiden period); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.206, repr. (c.1632-33; compares Benesch 0205 and 0079); Exh. Washington-Denver-Fort Worth, 1977, repr.; Exh. Washington, 2006; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2183); Joshua Reynolds (L. 2364); Thomas Lawrence (L. 2445); William Esdaile (L. 2617); his sale, London, Christie's, 17 June, 1840, lot 4, bt Sheath, 8s; Sir Archibald Campbell; by inheritance to Sir Ilay Campbell; his sale, London, Christie's, 26 March, 1974, lot 84, repr.; with Colnaghi, London, 1976, cat. no.43, repr. from whom purchased by Armand Hammer, by whom presented to the present repository, 1991.

First posted 14 September 2015.

 

Benesch 0207

Subject: An Oriental Standing, full-length

Verso: Sketch of the Head of a Man, wearing a turban (crossed out)

Medium: Pen and brown iron-gall ink heightened with white on paper prepared with brown wash; the verso in pen and brown ink only; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

Inscriptions: verso, in graphite (nineteenth to twentieth century), top left: 'Rembrandt (?)’ lower left: ‘100’ and ‘2933 [in a circle]’.

222 x 173. Watermark: none; chain lines: 24-25h. Mat: modern only.

COMMENTS: The drawing has been generally accepted as Rembrandt's work and dated c.1633, along with other studies of orientals executed in the same medium and style. The date has been proposed on the basis of the figure's resemblance to others painted by Rembrandt c.1632-3, such as King Cyrus in the small picture in a private collection of 'Daniel and King Cyrus' of 1633 (Bredius 491, Corpus A67, vol.VI, no.102).[1] Yet the breadth and vigour of the execution and the use of iron-gall ink both point to the end of the 1630s. Comparison can be made with several drawings of around 1639, including the recto and verso of the study of the 'Artist drawing from the Model' in the British Museum (see Benesch 0423). The unquestioned study in Melbourne (Benesch 0157) for Rembrandt's painting of 'Susannah and the Elders' in Berlin (Bredius 516, completed only in 1647) was also executed at about this time and is close to the present sheet from both a technical and stylistic point of view. The verso, first published in 1963, is inseparable from a sketch of another turbaned head on the back of an iron-gall ink study in Berlin, which should also be assigned to this period (Benesch 203 verso).[2] The underlying work in the head on the recto was executed in similarly fine lines to the verso before it was reworked in a broader manner.

The figure on the recto is reminiscent of one in a composition by Rubens of the 'Adoration of the Magi', which Rembrandt could have known through an engraving by Lucas Vorsterman and another print, based on Vorsterman's, that was published by Claes Jansz. Visscher in 1621.[3] The latter formed the basis of Rembrandt's iron-gall ink study of the 'Madonna and Child with a kneeling King' in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 115), which resembles the present sheet in style and has also been dated to the second half of the 1630s.[4]

In a later 'Sheet of Figure Studies' in the Warsaw University Library (Benesch 667, dated by him c.1641-2), Rembrandt created a figure whose pose and garb recall the present model.[5] The type also appears in the right background of his etching of the 'Beheading of St John the Baptist' of 1640 (Bartsch 92, Hind 171).

Condition: Generally good; a horizontal scar across the figure’s knees was caused by the penetration of adhesive from old backing tape (the tape removed and damage treated, 1987).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1639.

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1895,1214.100)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1899, no.A47 (mid-1640s); Lippmann, IV, no.84; Kleinmann, III, no.36; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.912; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.64 (c.1640-50?); Neumann, 1918[I], no.10, repr.; Stockholm, 1920, p.50 (compares school drawing in Stockholm, HdG.1580 [Sumowski 226x as Bol]); Van Dyke, 1927, p.96, repr. pl.XXIV, fig.95 (by S. Koninck; compares 'Adoration of Magi', Berlin, Benesch 160); Köhne, 1932, p.48, n.98 (compares Lievens etching of 'Standing Oriental', Hollstein 80); Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1633); Benesch, 1935[I], p.263 (early 1630s); Exh. London, 1938, no.64 (c.1640-50?); Amsterdam, 1942, p.25, under no.53 (as London, 1915); Benesch, 1947, p.21, no.27, repr. (c.1633); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.207, repr. fig.226/242 (c.1633); Exh. London, 1956, p.11, no.21; Sumowski, 1956-7, p.260, repr. fig.31 (Bol?); Drost, 1957, p.163 (Elsheimer influence; the most important of Rembrandt's group of oriental studies); van Gelder, 1960, p.77, repr. fig.5 (relates to painting of 'Daniel before King Cyrus' of 1633 in a private coll., Corpus A67, Bredius 491); White, 1963, p.38, repr. pl.32a (publishes verso); Benesch, 1964, p.122 (reprinted 1970, p.256); Slive, 1965, II, no. 533, repr. (c.1633); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.64; Sumowski, I, 1979, under nos.165x and 183x; Corpus, II, 1986, p.301 (see n.1 above); Exh. Amsterdam, 1985-6, no.23, repr. (reproduction only exhibited; c.1635-40; relationship to Rubens); Exh. Washington, 1990, p.30, n.2 ('picturesque' subject-matter); Exh. London, 1992, no.30, repr. in colour. (c.1639); Exh. Stockholm, 1992, repr. p.366, fig.165a (inspired Stockholm study by Bol, Sumowski 226x); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.463 (sheet has darkened – not prepared with wash); Exh. Southampton, 1995 ('Drawing the Line'), no. 173; Giltaij, 1995, p.98 (early 1630s); Warsaw, 2004, p.85, under no.5 (see n.5 above); Berlin, 2006, p.88, under no.20 and p.201 (follows Exh. London, 1992 in comparing verso to the verso of Benesch 203 in Berlin); Exh. London, 2006 (Rembrandt: a 400th anniversary display [no cat.]); Schwartz, 2006, pp.74 and 296, repr. figs 120 and 526; London, 2010 (online), no.27, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, nos 352 [recto] and 353 [verso], repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Possibly Mendes de Leon, sale, Amsterdam, 20 November, 1843, Kunstboek G, no.7 (‘Een staande Man in Oostersche kleeding; breed met de pen’); purchased from Colnaghi’s 1895 (in exchange for duplicate prints).

[1] The connection first made by J. G. van Gelder, 1960, p.77 since when the idea that it was a preliminary study has been rejected – see Corpus, II, 1986, p.301. The group of studies of orientals was constructed by Benesch (1935, 1947 and 1954). Two of them (Benesch 209-10 in Berlin and Budapest) have been described as 'questionable' (Sumowski, III, 1980, under no.763x) although in the compiler's view they are probably genuine. Benesch, 1935, pp.15-6, further bases his date of c.1633 on the inscription, which he describes as 'false', on the Bremen 'Study of a Dromedary' (Benesch 453). He nevertheless thought that the inscription preserved a sound tradition. Stylistically, however, the drawing has only superficial connections with the present sheet.

[2] The paper of the Berlin sheet is very similar and also has horizontal chain lines 25 mm apart.

[3] Schneevoogt, 1873, p.22, nos.82 and 80 respectively. The composition was a source of inspiration to Rembrandt on other occasions: see Corpus, I, 1982, under nos.A9 and A40, Amsterdam, 1985, under no.9, and Exh. Amsterdam, 1985-6, pp.36-7. Rubens' painting, which Rembrandt would not have known, is now in Lyon (Oldenbourg, 1921, no.164).

[4] Amsterdam, 1985, no.9, repr.

[5] Warsaw, 2004, p.85, no.5, which also compares the British Museum drawing to the later representation of an 'Oriental' now in Groningen (Benesch 1130).

First posted 14 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0208

Subject: A Young Oriental Riding a Camel

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, corrected with white heightening.

180 x 103.

COMMENTS: The drawing has been missing since World War 2, making any assessment tentative. The motif resembles a figure in a school of Rembrandt drawing of Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well, now in the Lugt Collection, that has been assigned to Carel Fabritius.[1]

The style of the drawing is bold and vigorous, but often to rather disappointing effect, with little sense of Rembrandt’s usual economy of line (a lot of lines for nothing). But the facial profile resembles others drawn by Rembrandt (compare the figure in the upper middle of Benesch 0226) and it would be facile to dismiss the drawing out-of-hand, so it is retained here as ‘attributed to’ Rembrandt, and dated c.1638-39 along with his other iron-gall ink sketches.

Condition: old photographs suggest that the iron-gall ink ‘burn’ is significant, and that there was a large stain, centre right, where a first attempt at the camel's head and neck was covered over.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt??

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: Formerly Dresden, Friedrich August Collection (L.971)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.310 (c.1635); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, no.118; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.208, repr. (c.1632-33); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Formerly Dresden, Friedrich August Collection (L.971).

[1] Paris, 2010, no.77 (see also Benesch under no.0491). The traditional attribution was to Barend Fabritius, and it does seem to differ significantly in style from Benesch 0491, which has also been given to Carel Fabritius (Exh. Amsterdam, 2014, no.18, repr.). Thus the traditional attribution might possibly be correct; for attributions to Carel Fabritius, see under Benesch 0500.

First posted 15 September 2015.

 

Benesch 0209

Subject: Three Orientals Standing

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall?) ink.[1]

168 x 143. Watermark: indecipherable fragment; chain lines: 22-24v.

COMMENTS: Along with Benesch 0210, on grounds of quality and style, the attribution to Rembrandt has been rejected in favour of one to Carel Fabritius.[2] In my view the latter idea is insufficiently backed up by the drawings so far attributed to Fabritius, none of which can be described as a ‘documentary’ work by Fabritius. Yet the sketch may have been made at around the time that he became Rembrandt’s apprentice in 1640 (and compare Benesch 0679). The style is close to Rembrandt’s own iron-gall ink sketches made at the end of the 1630s, perhaps the closest being Benesch 0207. The loop by the leftmost ankle is particularly Rembrandtesque and the boldness of style is superficially impressive. The head of the background figure in the centre is realised with great economy. But the heavy, closed outline and the overwrought use of the flat of the pen, which repeatedly fails to achieve a sense of three-dimensionality, suggest that this and Benesch 0210 are a pupil’s work, one perhaps of lesser importance than Fabritius. The figure on the right of the present sheet is especially unprepossessing and makes an attribution to Rembrandt especially unlikely (cf. Benesch 0305; but also the figure on the right of Benesch 0667). The two drawings are described here as School of Rembrandt for lack of a better definition, though perhaps it is not completely impossible, comparing Benesch 0667, that Rembrandt made them under less than ideal circumstances.

Condition: seems to have suffered in parts from iron-gall ink ‘burn’.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt/Rembrandt??

Date: c.1639?

COLLECTION: Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv. KdZ 3096).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amtliche Berichte, VII, 1886, col.vi; Michel, 1893, p.574; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.145; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.137; Berlin, 1930, I, p.244 (manner of Rembrandt); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.137; Lugt, 1931, p.63 (notes the drawing is ex-Gsell collection); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.208, repr. (c.1632-33); Rosenberg, 1956.I, p.68 (not Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1956-57, p.260 (suggests possibly by Maes); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.24 (drawn with the brush; attribution questionable); Sumowski, 1979 etc., III, under no..763x (questionable); Exh. London, 1992, under no.30, n.1 (probably by Rembrandt); Haarlem, 1997, under no.324 (school of Rembrandt); Budapest, 2005, under no.218 (school of Rembrandt); Berlin, 2006, p.200, repr. (attributed to Carel Fabritius, along with Benesch 0210); Exh. Amsterdam-Paris, 2007, p.124/128 (Fabritius); Giltaij, 2007 n.p. (Fabritius attribution problematic); London, 2010 (online), under no.27 (as Exh. London, 1992); The Present Catalogue online, 2015 (Schoool or Rembrandt/Rembrandt??); Berlin, 2018, no.71, repr. (Carel Fabritius, c.1645); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Georg Plach (L.1188); J.D. Böhm (L.1442); F.J. Gsell; his sale, 14 March, 1872, lot 617; Alexander Posonyi (L.2040), whose collection presented by Julius Guttentag in 1885 to the present repository.

[1] The paper is not prepared with brown wash, which is unusual in Rembrandt’s iron-gall ink drawings, but in my estimation the ink is probably iron-gall, mainly because the outlines of the central figure, which seem to have eaten into the paper in a manner consistent with iron-gall ink. The pen was probably a quill pen, which as practitioners know can produce results like those we see here and in Benesch 0210.

[2] See Berlin, 2006, p.200.

First posted 16 September 2015.

 

Benesch 0210

Subject: Four Orientals Standing

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash, smudged with the finger; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

144 × 123. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: See the note to Benesch 0209. The shortcomings of the draughtsman are here even clearer.

Condition: good

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt/Rembrandt??

Date: c.1639?

COLLECTION: H Budapest, Szépművészeti Múzeum (inv.1598)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Dutuit, 1885, p.88; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1384 (seems genuine); Térey, 1909, pl.21; Exh. Budapest, 1932, no.133 (follower of Rembrandt); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.210, repr. (c.1632-33; ‘doubts seem unjustified’, comparing Benesch 0209 and 0211-0212); Rosenberg, 1956.I, p.68 (not Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1956-57, p.260 (suggests possibly by Maes); Haverkamp Begemann, 1961, p.24 (doubtful); Sumowski, 1979 etc., III, under no..763x (questionable); Exh. London, 1992, under no.30, n.1 (probably by Rembrandt); Haarlem, 1997, under no.324 (school of Rembrandt); Budapest, 2005, no.218, repr. (school of Rembrandt, 1630s); London, 2010 (online), no.27 (as Exh. London, 1992); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Prince Niklaus Esterházy (L.1965; inv.28. 18 as Rembrandt); in 1870 purchased with his collection for the Hungarian State and subsequently housed in the National Gallery [Országos Képtár] (L.2000), from which transferred to the present repository.

First posted 18 September 2015.

 

 

 

Benesch 0211

Subject: Two Orientals in Cloaks, in conversation

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

200 x 145.

COMMENTS: In style and quality the drawing is the equal of many of the iron-gall ink sketches of orientals made by Rembrandt and his pupils in the late 1630s. Nonetheless, the artist seems to have worked hard to surprisingly little effect in the characterisation and even the modelling of the figures. Compared with the documentary drawings in iron-gall ink - perhaps the closest is Benesch 0157 - the result seems incoherent, with many lines failing to convey more than a confused and messy effect and none of them convincingly by Rembrandt. The blocked out figures and the rather rigidly geometrical approach to form (they stand like two giant stone monoliths) is also highly uncharacteristic. Yet certain analogies with Benesch 0242 and 0246 recto prevent me from discounting the attribution to Rembrandt completely. A comparable composition appears in the school drawing, Benesch 0305.

Condition: the iron-gall ink acidity has eaten through the paper with cracks in the feet, cloak and hat of the figure to the left; somewhat spotted and stained.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt/Rembrandt??

Date: c.1639?

COLLECTION: NL Haarlem, Teyler Museum (L.2392; inv.O* 42 [formerly (in 1854 inventory) S 23]).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Vosmaer, 1868, p.511; Vosmaer, 1877, p.596; Michel, 1893, p.592; Haarlem, 1904, no.42; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1323; Wurzbach, 1911, II, p.417 (Elsheimer); Kleinmann, 1913, vi, pl.49; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, p.24, under no.137; Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-33); Exh. Amsterdam, 1951, no.13 (c.1648); Exh. Haarlem, 1951, no.147; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.211, repr. (c.1632-33; compares Benesch 0201); Rosenberg, 1956.I, p.68; Sumowski, 1956-57, p.260 ('doubtful' as Rembrandt; same hand as Benesch 0211a); Haarlem, 1997, no.324, repr. (defends attribution to Rembrandt, not leasst with reference to Benesch 391); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Acquired by the present repository before 1822; possibly H. van Maarseveen; his sale, Amsterdam, 28 October, 1793, lot 29: 'een studie van twee beelden; geteekent als boven [in pen and brown ink] door Denzelfden [Rembrandt]', bt Hendriks, f.10.10.

First posted 19 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0211a

Subject: Two Orientals Standing

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall?) ink.

Measurements unknown.

COMMENTS: Probably by the same hand as Benesch 0209 (qv). I have not seen the original, which seems to have been roundly ignored since its rejection by Rosenberg in his 1956 review of Benesch’s catalogue. The figure on the left may have been inspired by Rembrandt’s etching of 1632, The Persian (Bartsch 152, NH 110). In style the artist was emulating Rembrandt’s iron-gall ink drawings of the late 1630s, and may have used the same medium; but compare also Benesch 0682, which has similar shading and lines on the ground, so that the drawing could well be later.

Condition: somewhat spotted and stained.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt

Date: c.1639?/1640s

COLLECTION: Whereabouts unknown (formerly Private Collection Paris, F. Flameng).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.211a, repr. (c.1633; compares Benesch 0211 and 0212); Rosenberg, 1956.I, p.68 (not Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1956-57, p.260 ('doubtful' as Rembrandt; same hand as Benesch 0211); Haarlem, 1997, under no.324 (school of Rembrandt); Budapest, 2005, no.218, repr. (school of Rembrandt, 1630s); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Unknown.

First posted 20 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0212

Subject: Two Standing Orientals

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash with some red chalk mixed with the ink. Inscribed in pen and brown ink lower right: “R” and on verso: “1545” [crossed out] and below the backing paper: “P”

179 x 125.

COMMENTS: As Benesch recognised, the poses of the figures resemble those in Benesch 0211a. The style resembles Rembrandt’s own only cursorily and may be compared with that of his figure studies, such as Benesch 0238 and Benesch 0242, to see the difference. The style echoes the iron-gall ink drawings by Rembrandt of the end of the 1630s, but is more loose and painterly and could date from the 1640s. There are links, in the heavy outlines and rather unruly shading at the upper centre, with drawings attributed to Carel Fabritius - compare, for example, Benesch 0497 and the Rijksmuseum’s sketch of the Adoration of the Shepherds.[1]

The drawing was recorded in 1778 as by C.W.E. Dittrich (1712-1774), but there seems to be little reason to give the attribution credence.[2]

Condition: somewhat spotted and stained.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Carel Fabritius??)

Date: c.1639?/1640s.

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886a; inv. RF 29039)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, III, 56; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.418; Saxl, 1908, p.346 (c.1655; compares 1655 Berlin painting of Joseph and Potiphar, Bredius 524, Corpus, V, 22 and vol.VI, 237); Bénédite, 1908, p.112, repr.; Hautecoeur, 1927 (unpaginated); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.212, repr. (c.1632-33; compares especially Benesch 0207 and 0210); Rosenberg, 1956.I, p.68 (Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1956-57, p.260 (not Rembrandt; compares Maes); Drost, 1957, pp.160 and 162, repr. pl.154 (compares Elsheimer; Slive, 1965, II, no.389 (Rembrandt; late 1640s); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.26 (Rembrandt, earlier than Benesch 0682; figure on right inspired by G. van Scheyndel print, Hollstein 20; connects with figure to right of Doomer's drawing of the Damplats, Amsterdam, in Van Eeghen collection, Sumowski 421); Paris, 1988, no.283, repr. (c.1635; school of Rembrandt); Dupuy-Vachey, 2017, p.495, repr. fig.11 and appendix I, no.26 (changing provenance from Huquier to P.A. Hall); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Peter Adolf Hall (L. 1285, formerly identified as the mark of Gabriel Huquier);[2] his 1778 inventory: "Deux Turc dans la manière de Rembrandt...12" as by C.W.E. Dittrich; his anonymous sale, Paris, Basan and Guilleaumon, 15 November, 1779, part of lot 340, as Rembrandt (with Benesch 1184), bt Langlier, 12 livres; Francis Abbot (L. 970); his sale, Edinburgh, 21-26 January, 1894, part of lot 384; Walter Gay; given by his widow to the present repository in 1938.

[1] See Amsterdam, 1985, no.62, repr. (Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1168; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.293; not in Benesch). Both drawings are repr. Schatborn, 2006.1, respectively figs 13 and 2. See also Benesch 0498, 0499, 0502a, 0515 and 0521, among many other drawings in the ‘Fabritius’ style.

[2] See Dupuy-Vachey, 2017.

First posted 20 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0213

Subject: Bust of a Man in a Turban, head turned to right

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with white heightening, on paper prepared with brown wash.

136 x 127. Watermark: none visible; laid down on a grey, 18th-century mat associated with the comte de Saint-Morys.

COMMENTS: The flattening effect of the shading has sufficiently disturbed one commentator to lead him to reject the drawing.[1] Certainly the effect contrasts with the way the comparable motif of an Oriental in profile is described in Benesch 0158, also in the Louvre, and probably from the same period. The characterisation also seems less profound and many lines, for example in the figure’s left shoulder, are repeated somewhat aimlessly - although comparable repetitions are found in broader penlines in the documentary drawing, Benesch 0157. Also troubling is the fact that there are few links with any of the documentary drawings made at around the same time (for example, Benesch 0157, 0161, 0168 or 0423, all in the same medium and dating from around 1638-39). Together, these reasons provide some grounds for concern regarding the attribution to Rembrandt.

On the other hand, there are some passages that appear close to other generally accepted Rembrandt drawings – comparisons that have been made before (see Literature):

1. The zigzag shading in the lower right corner is especially close to Benesch 0244.

2. The rather flat shading compares closely with Benesch 0396 and also the boy in Benesch 0223 recto (a drawing which also has similar peripheral zigzags).

3. The turban compares with that on Benesch 0707 verso; compare also the turbaned heads on Benesch 203 verso and 207 verso.

One might add that the drawing remains a tour-de-force of draughtsmanship, apparently executed with great zest and speed. It also seems closer to his work thatn to that of any of the pupils we know about who might come into contention, such as Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. Finally, if we regard the drawing primarily as a study of a turban, the rather wooden characterisation and cursory descriptions in the rest of the sheet become entirely comprehensible. So taking all the above into consideration, it seems correct to retain the drawing as by Rembrandt, though with some hesitation.

Condition: Somewhat darkened but generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv. 22982 [formerly NIII27780 and MA12628])

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Morel d’Arleux, no.12628/31; Lippmann, III, 12; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.629 (c.1635; then attributed to the school of Rembrandt); Paris, 1933, no.1162 (c.1632-36); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Exh. Paris, 1937, no.108; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.213, repr. (c.1633; compares Benesch 0185, 0244 ‘and related drawings’); Slive, 1965, II, no.344; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.169; Starcky, 1985, p.263; Arquié, Labbé and Bicart-Sée, 1987, p.464; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.20, repr. (compares Benesch 0396, 0223, 0168 and 0707, as well as motif of hand on chest with etching of Man in a Divided Hat, Bartsch 265, NH 182); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Charles-Paul-Jean-Baptiste Bourgevin Vialart, Comte de Saint-Morys (1743-1795), Paris; his collection seized by the French state at the Revolution, 1793, and transferred to the Louvre in 1796-97 (Inventaire du Musée Napoléon. Dessins. Vol.9, p.1697, chap.: Ecoles diverses, Dessins en paquets. (...) Numéro: 12628.Idem [[ Maîtres divers /&. Numéro d'ordre dans l'oeuvre du maître: 4. Désignation des sujets: Cent cartons et feuilles, dont quatre cartons à trois dessins, deux à quatre, et seize à deux. 130 [[nombre de dessins qui sont dans chaque paquet]] Origine: Idem & Collection nouvelle /&. Emplacement actuel: Idem & Calcographie du Musée Napoléon ]]. Signe de recollement: [Vu] [[au crayon]]. Cote: 1DD41)

[1] See Schatborn in Exh. Paris, 2006-7, p.1.

First posted 23 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0214

Subject: Two Busts of Oriental Men in Turbans

Medium: Pen and brown ink, with brown wash; some later grey wash; traces of ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower right, in graphite: “Rembrandt” and on verso, in graphite: "30 [24]" [the inventory no.]

183 x 142. Watermark: none; chain lines: 24-25v; laid lines: 13/cm.

The drawing is hard to judge and I have spent too many days considering it. Partly this is because it has so many unusual features and combinations for a work by Rembrandt or by one of his pupils: the large scale of the faces compared with the majority of their figure-studies; the unusually broad and unsubtle outlines and shading in many areas, which although combined with finer lines, tend to dominate the overall effect; and the somewhat shallow characterisations – the figure on the right approaches pure, mask-like caricature of a kind that would be exceptional for Rembrandt. The drawing seems to ask: how far can or should we stretch our idea of Rembrandt the draughtsman in order to accommodate it? Perhaps too far.

The thick, crude lines might possibly be explained as later additions. They often strengthen underlying contours drawn with a normal quill pen, as in the three lines at the lower left and the upper circle at the chest of the man on the right. These reinforcements seem to have been drawn with an unusually broad and rigid instrument, such as the ‘wrong end’ of a paintbrush, rather than a quill or even reed pen (though the latter cannot be entirely discounted; but the line-endings are unusually ragged). This conclusion also means that we have almost nothing with which we can compare these lines, beyond the outlines in a few drawings, such as Benesch 0115 and Benesch 0300 and, for the shading, the rather more fluent hatching in Benesch 0215.

To assess the drawing, therefore, we have to focus primarily on the core parts of the image which seem without doubt to be original work rather than additions: the face, turban and head ornament of the man on the left, perhaps including those parts of his cloak draped over his right shoulder (spectator’s left); and the face and upper shoulder of the figure on the right, whose turban may possibly also have been reinforced later (partly to disguise some underlying indications which seem to represent a smaller hat, possibly a fur one).

For the head on the left, one might compare Benesch 0405, in which the delineation of the eyes, with small circles immediately under the lids, and the generally delicate touch are analogous. The hatching around Saskia’s head also seems close to that in and near the beard and turban of the present figure. His beard has much in common with the beard of the head on the right in Benesch 0339, in which the combination of scrolled profiles and some delicate hatching are repeated. The beard also resembles the small sketch on Benesch 0203 verso.

For the more caricatural head on the right there are again analogies with Benesch 0215, although the characterisation is there vastly more subtle and profound than here; and there are ‘moments’ in the drawing which marry well with works by or generally attributed to Rembrandt. Among the documentary drawings, in Benesch 157, for example, the small patch of shading at the wrist of the Elder’s raised hand is entirely comparable with the shading to the right of the beard of the upper figure of Benesch 0214; and, in the nearer knee of the same documentary sheet, there are some almost wilful, broad lines of a kind found repeatedly here (in the potential ‘additions’), although they are now more hesitant and crude. In Benesch 0161, the very fine parallel hatching in the face on the left is not unlike that in the turban of the nearer figure, at both the upper and lower centre (to the right of the jewel). In Benesch 0423 verso, a number of similarly heavy lines occur in the upper background, to left and right.

For the drawing overall, however, one might compare Benesch 0062, 0209, 0210, 0212, 0300, 0305 and 0311, all of which are no longer regarded as by Rembrandt. Why, one might ask, does not the present sheet resemble more closely the style of the comparable image in Benesch 0085? Or the feathered turban ornament the bird tails in Benesch 0456 or even Benesch 0158? Here they seem decidedly hesitant, although pedestrianly accurate; and the drapery is also difficult to parallel in any securely attributed Rembrandt drawing (the cloth and its ornamentation on the left of the drawing have some affinity with the lower register of Salomon’s saddle-cloth in Benesch 0146, which is now attributed to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout).

The answer seems to be that the drawing is almost certainly not by Rembrandt. But it then leaves us with the question as to its true author, which remains hard to surmise. Some of the drawings enumerated in the preceding paragraph have been attributed to Govert Flinck or, in the case of Benesch 0311, to Carel Fabritius, and perhaps the broad lines point more to the latter, if they are indeed original work.[1]

Rembrandt himself depicted turban-wearing men in paintings and etchings from most periods of his career. In the late 1630s, for example, he showed them in his Wedding of Samson of 1638 (Corpus, VI, 160) as well as individually in his King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy of c.1639-40 (Corpus, VI, 164). Slightly later, from 1642, there is the David’s Parting from Jonathan (Bredius 511, Corpus C84, vol. VI, 188), in which Jonathan wears a turban with a jewel and feather not unlike that seen here (and again in Benesch 0215).[2] It therefore seems possible that the drawing was made in these years – years in which Carel Fabritius as well as many other talented pupils were active in Rembrandt’s workshop. The plumed jewel is apparently based on ornaments worn by senior officials from the Ottoman court and the figure wearing it resembles Abraham in Rembrandt's etching of the Dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael of 1637 (Bartsch 30; NH 166), though he sports no such decoration.[3] The other figure resembles very generally the Portrait of an Oriental, now in Washington of c.1633-34 (Corpus B8 and vol. VI, 99).[4] Such dependencies and echoes of works by Rembrandt from different periods also suggest that the drawing is more probably the work of a pupil or follower.

Condition: not good; repairs to lower corners; paper skinned, especially verso; the drawing may have been washed; the grey wash is later; some light foxing.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Carel Fabritius??)

Date: c.1638-42

COLLECTION: B Brussels, Musée des Beaux-Arts (inv.4060/3024)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Brussels, 1913, inv.3024; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, 1943, p.23, repr. fig.3 (collected Writings, p.141, repr. fig.110); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.214, repr. (c.1633; compares paintings Bredius 178 and 180; Exh. Brussels, 1967, no.103, repr.; Exh. Geneva, 1969-70, no.103; Exh. Brussels, 1971, no.22; Béguin, 1978, p.320, repr.; Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, under no.253x; Exh. Berlin, 1989, no.8/9, repr. fig.820; sale cat., Amsterdam, Christie's, 11 Nov. 1996, under no.121 (as attributed to Rembrandt); Exh. Brussels, 2006, no.8, repr. (anonymous pupil of Rembrandt; associated with S. van Hoogstraten by Schatborn); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: J.C. Robinson (L.1433); Adalbert von Lanna (L. 2773); his sale, Stuttgart, H.G. Gutekunst, 6-11 May, 1910, lot 106 as Bol; E.W. Moes; Jean de Grez, whose collection bequeathed to the present repository, 1913.

[1] See Schatborn, 2010.

[2] Benesch, who believed the drawing dated from c.1633, compared two of Rembrandt’s paintings, the Bust of an Oriental Man of 1632, in Munich (Bredius 178; Corpus A73, vol. VI, no.104) and the 1633-34 Washington Man in Oriental Costume (Bredius 180; Corpus B8, vol.VI, no.99).

[3] As noted in Exh. Brussels, 2006, quoting De Winkel in Exh. Dordrecht-Cologne, 1998-99, p.89.

[4] Also noted in Exh. Brussels, 2006.

First posted 28 September 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0215

Subject: Bust of a Man in a Turban, full face

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with some white heightening, on paper prepared with yellowish-brown wash. Ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink [that on the left in graphite]. Inscribed verso with a mathematical formula in graphite, separated by horizontal lines: “_____ / 14 / 4- [this figure only in pen and brown ink] /_____ / 9”; and top right in graphite by Christie’s Amsterdam on the verso debris of an old hinge: “BW762” [this may now have been removed].

165 x 119. Watermark: none; chain lines: 27v.; laid lines: 12-13/cm.

COMMENTS: If one blocks out all the drawing below the shadow under the chin, we are left with a characterisation so profound that an attribution to Rembrandt seems admissible almost on this basis alone; but in addition the style and technique in this upper area are entirely consistent with Rembrandt’s work in iron-gall ink in c.1638-39: the thinner lines underlying the main body of the turban, subsequently strengthened with thicker, bolder contours and modelling, and the economic description of the facial features, resemble such drawings as Benesch 0207, 0242, 0246, and 0250. Compare also the face of the woman at the top right of Benesch 0300.

Among the documentary drawings one might point to Benesch 0157 (the Elder, now in Melbourne), which resembles it in many respects despite the change of scale. Benesch 0158 (the Oriental with a Dead Bird, in Paris) also provides useful pointers: the underlying treatment of the turban is similar and the patch of shading immediately below the chin is replicated at the throat, as well as under the chin of the old woman in Benesch 0218 (such passages abound in Rembrandt, even shading the inside of the well in Benesch 0452). The ornamental plume, so unlike those in Benesch 0312 or 0318, both now rejected from Rembrandt’s oeuvre, comes much closer the bird-tails in Benesch 0456.

But then we have to consider the broadly handled body. Here, as in Benesch 0214, we are almost at a complete loss. Perhaps the first feature to mention is that the hanging tail of the turban is interrupted, and the lower portion, from the neck down, is in broad lines yet reasonably consistent with Rembrandt’s draughtsmanship as seen at the base of Benesch 0157, on the right of Benesch 0237a and in the central areas of Benesch 0237 and 0239. This opens up the possibility that Rembrandt did return to the drawing with a recharged pen. One could also suggest that although the thick shading lines to either side of this resemble Benesch 0214, the effect here is more fluent. But on balance the idea that the drawing was partly completed by another hand seems more probable, and of course this hand could be the one responsible for Benesch 0214.

Condition: apart from some overall slight staining (mostly from old foxmarks), generally good, despite iron-gall acidity in the lines; a patch restored in the area above the figure’s left eye and earring; the white conceivably later (see further the comments above).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt (probably with later additions by another hand).

Date: c.1639

COLLECTION: Private Collection USA, Rhode Island (Middendorf)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1943, p.23, repr. fig.5 [Collected Writings, p.141, repr. fig.111); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.215, repr. (c.1633; compares Benesch 0214); Exh. Brussels, 2005, under no.8, repr. fig.2 (Rembrandt?); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Paul Brandt, Amsterdam; with Christie’s Amsterdam in July 1996 [correspondence with the author] and again at Christie’s in London in September 1996, lot 121, repr. ("Attributed to Rembrandt"), where purchased by the present owner.

First posted 5 October 2015.

 

Benesch 0216

Subject: A Bearded Old Man in a High Hat at a Door

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash and white bodycolour and, in the upper corners, some later grey wash, on paper prepared in brown wash.

174 x 105.

COMMENTS: While an attribution to Rembrandt himself appears very unlikely, the drawing is intimately connected with his work through its style and the medium of iron-gall ink, used by Rembrandt in c.1638-39. The delineation of the facial features may be compared with the somewhat earlier documentary drawing, Benesch 0336, though seem everywhere weaker. But in the drawing’s favour, the zigzag hatching on the door to the left is similar to Benesch 0394, and the vertical hatching between the man’s hands on the door panel resembles a passage in the lower part of Benesch 0391. The strong vertical lines trailing off at the bottom of the sheet are comparable to many works by Rembrandt himself (see, for example, Benesch 0255 and 0423 verso [especially at the top]).

Yet, as Benesch averred, the links with Benesch 0212, now regarded as certainly not by Rembrandt, are strong. Furthermore, a comparison with the documentary drawing, the Portrait of Maria Trip (Benesch 0442) lays bare the differences as well as the relative malaproprisms of the present sheet, whether in its overall structure or its economy of means; and a similar distance separates the drawing from Benesch 0250, which shows a comparable motif, as also from Benesch 0314. A considerable amount of effort has been used to draw and correct the sheet, with dense shading in the hat and clothing, quite apart from the heavy-handed correction in white bodycolour; but the drawing never reveals Rembrandt’s own qualities (vide the hands), and we are forced to conclude that this drawing is a close imitation of Rembrandt’s style of the mid-to-later 1630s by a pupil in his workshop at the end of the 1630s.[2]

Condition: apart from the later wash, reasonably good.

Summary attribution: Anonymous School of Rembrandt (Attributed to Rembrandt??)[1]

Date: c.1639?

COLLECTION: D Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett (L.1647; inv. C 1418)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Heucher, 1738, p.116 [Bureau XV]; Franke, 1865, port. V, no.25/3 (Rembrandt); Hofstede de Groot, 1890 (MS), no.73; Dresden, 1896-98, viii, no.316, repr. Pl.xvii; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.248; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, p.16, no.54; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.216, repr. (c.1633; compares Benesch 0212 and 0218, and etching of Rat-Catcher [Bartsch 121, NH 111]); Exh. Dresden, 1960, p.10, no.9; Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.74, repr.; Exh. Paris, 2006, no.41, repr. (Ferdinand Bol; compares Sumowski 161x and 184x); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Gottfried Wager (d.1725), Leipzig, from whose collection acquired by the present repository in 1728.

[1] When I first studied the original in 1992 I thought the drawing “autograph but not very successful”, and for this reason may include it in the “Attributed to Rembrandt” section.

[2] Attempts to attribute the drawing to Ferdinand Bol are in my opinion not convincing (see Exh. Dresden, 2004 and Exh. Paris, 2006).

First posted 5 October 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0217

Subject: A Woman Standing in Profile to Left, full-length

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with some brown wash, on paper prepared pale brown.

210 x 129.

COMMENTS: Benesch believed that the drawing represents Saskia standing in front of a mirror and holding a piece of jewellery: "she seems to be selecting jewellery from a drawer of her dressing table in order to adorn herself".[1] This seems slightly fanciful and the recognition of Saskia is at least uncertain – the drawing does not in any case appear to be intended primarily as a portrait (cf. Benesch 0427) but as a drapery study. The gesture might suggest any number of chores, from washing hands to carrying a precious object (compare the figure in the centre of Benesch 0081); the woman might be standing at a high ledge or near an open door. Whether a particular action in a genre or even a history piece was foreseen by Rembrandt it seems impossible to divine.

Benesch also pointed out that the iron-gall ink continued, in the twentieth century, to undermine the condition of the drawing, as can be judged from the old Prestel photograph. This has particularly affected the hatching by the woman’s face and breast, which has merged into a less subtle block of shadow. Allowance therefore must be made for the spread of the ink, undermining some of the finer points of the modelling and outlines.

The attribution has become controversial in recent times and a reasonably detailed stylistic analysis is therefore necessary.[2] In style the drawing appears to belong clearly with Benesch 0237, which has not been doubted, where we again encounter not only the exceptionally bold outlines but also the zig-zag shading down the left and below (compare also for this the right side of Benesch 0244 and the drapery held by the model in Benesch 0423 recto). Benesch 0217 also has a passage of characteristic, slightly nonchalant vertical hatching across the upper part of the figure, of a type that is encountered again behind the upper figure in Benesch 0197 and, briefly, in Benesch 0199 and again under the chin in Benesch 0158, between the figures in Benesch 0235 and in the lower drapery of Benesch 237. The bolder lines drawn over lighter ones in the dress are replicated among some of the documentary drawings, including Benesch 0157, to the right of Benesch 0161 and the upper figure in Benesch 0168.

For the head, comparisons may be made with the woman nearest the centre of Benesch 0226, especially with the manner of drawing the hair in tightly curled yet still quite long individual lines. The ornament in her hair appears also to be the same and the drawing could conceivably represent the same model; for the fine parallel shading in the cheek, compare the head and shoulder of Ruyter in Benesch 0235. For the raised hand, compare Benesch 0239, with its similar combination of sharply pointed and looped lines, something we encounter again, though drawn with a finer nib, in the top left figure of Benesch 0194; for the drapery one can point to the lower right of Benesch 0301; Benesch 0406 also has strong lines at the base of the door and skirt on the right.

The drawing is clearly by the same hand as Benesch 0217A, although perhaps not directly related to the painting in Kassel (see under Benesch 217A). Nonetheless the idea that Rembrandt began with this drawing in a progression of ideas for a portrait of Saskia in profile cannot be discounted. The attribution to Rembrandt may cause controversy, but the alternative, that it is by Govert Flinck, depends ultimately on comparisons with drawings such as the Musketeer, now in Copenhagen (Benesch A33; Sumowski 953x), or the Seated Woman, in the British Museum (Benesch A12),[3] which seem so distant from the present drawing that they cannot be by the same hand - they are infinitely more remote from Benesch 0217 than the many comparisons made above with works by Rembrandt. Thus despite some concerns raised by some unusual characteristics (partly exacerbated by the condition of the sheet), the drawing belongs firmly within Rembrandt’s own oeuvre and like the other drawings made with iron-gall ink may be dated c.1638-39. While the characterisation of the figure and some of the modelling may fall short of his finest performances, there are exceptional qualities to the drawing as well; for example, the way the bold lines around the skirt, especially at the bottom, anchor the whole unit of the figure; or the dynamic triangle that boldly denotes the nearer elbow (compare for this kind of abstract dynamic Benesch 0659). It is reasonable to believe that Rembrandt can sometimes surprise us, or even disappoint us.[4] But overall the drawing seems more than sufficiently characteristic of him rather than of any of his followers.

Condition: there is considerable iron-gall ink ‘burn’ which has merged the lines of shading at the top left and elsewhere.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Bremen, Kunsthalle (inv.744)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.192 (c.1635; Saskia perhaps the model); Bremen, 1907, pp.3-8. no.5, repr.; Pauli, 1911, p.121; Exh. Bremen, 1912, no.632, repr.; Valentiner, 1925/34, ii, no.680, repr. (c.1635-37); Pauli, Prestel-Gesellschaft, I, no.22; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Exh. Amsterdam, 1935, no.40 (c.1637); Von Alten, 1947, p.18, repr. fig.21; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.217, repr. and (1973 only) under no.217A (c.1633; same period as Benesch 0429; compares Benesch 0081, 0217A and 0237; notes iron-gall ink decay has increased in 20th century; see further above); Benesch, II, 1973, under no.217A (with further comments to those made in the 1954 edition); Corpus, II, 1986, under no.A85, pp.431 and 438, under copy 3 (Rembrandt, c.1633-34; basis for Benesch 0217A); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.,22 (compares Benesch 0237); Exh. Hamburg-Bremen, 2000-2001, no.62, repr. (mid-1630s; Saskia?; compares shading in Benesch 0456; was until 1900 inventoried as by Daniel Chodowiecki); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: J.H. Albers; Bremen Kunstverein (L.295).[2]

[1] See Benesch, 1954/73.

[2] The drawing was among those looted from Germany by Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War. After being deposited at the museum in Baku, Azerbaijan, it was finally returned to the museum via US customs in New York on 19 July 2001, and exhibited at Sotheby’s New York. See further Ann Röver-Kann, writing in the 2004 AsKI Kulturberichte viewable at: http://www.aski.org/portal2/cms-aski-ev--kulturberichte-1986-2004/aski-ev---kulturberichte-104/askiev-kulturberichte-1-2004-kunsthalle-bremen---rueckkehr-verschollener-kunstwerke-das-ende-einer-odyssee-duerers-frauenbad-zurueck.html

[2] As noted in the literature quoted in n.1 and in Exh. Hamburg-Bremen, 2000-2001, no.62, which interestingly states that the drawing was described in the oldest Bremen inventories from before 1900 as by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801), a designation from which it was recued by Pauli.

[3] See also London, 2010 (online), Flinck no.3.

[4] See the discussion of methodology in the introduction (under the 'About' tab).

First posted 28 October 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0217A

Subject: A Study for a Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh, standing, full-length, her face in profile to left.

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with some brown wash on paper tinted brown.

228 x 152. Watermark: none visible.

COMMENTS: For many of the stylistic arguments in favour of attributing this currently contentious drawing to Rembrandt, see under Benesch 0217, which seems rather obviously to be by the same hand (‘pace’ some previous writers – see Literature below). Benesch 0217 may have preceded the present work although, apart from their stylistic analogies, they are only related in general compositional terms. In fact both could have been developed from yet another sketch by Rembrandt, Benesch 0246 verso, which in particular could have been the springboard for the present work. Benesch 0246 verso may show a pregnant woman, which is certainly the case on the recto (Benesch 0246 recto), and this might have some repercussions, albeit rather speculative ones, for the present work, on which see further below.

Four of the many possible comparisons between Benesch 0217A and drawings by Rembrandt are perhaps sufficiently persuasive to retain it as by Rembrandt (sometimes repeating comparisons made in the case of Benesch 0217). First, for the hatching on the ground and particularly the zigzags in the lower drapery, the lower section of Benesch 0197 seems inseparable; additionally there is a link between the dense cross-hatching in the lower right corner and the shadow on the right of the Portrait of Castiglione after Raphael, Benesch 0451, a documentary drawing. Second, for the finely-wrought looped and hooked movements of a thin pen modelling the drapery, Benesch 0199, especially in the thighs of the figure at the top left. (A comparable approach is found in Benesch 0244 and 0255.) Third, for the left section of the skirt descending in bold strokes but also marked or interrupted by a few somewhat random-looking squiggles to suggest shadow, folds and movement, Benesch 0237 (the drawing that also provides close analogies with Benesch 0217 in this respect). Finally, but equally significantly, the delineation of the hands is entirely characteristic of Rembrandt himself – one might point specifically to the hands in such works as Benesch 0238, 0249, 0253, 0255 and 0281A.

That is not to say that the drawing is in no measure unusual. But as noted in the introduction, this is true of many of Rembrandt’s ‘documentary’ drawings as well; so unusual stylistic and other features cannot be used uncritically as an argument for rejecting this or any other attribution (cf. Benesch 0257, for example, a highly unusual and yet certainly authentic drawing by Rembrandt). In Benesch 0217A, the heavy, almost wilful accents around the back of the shoulders and down behind the figure are uncustomary. Yet they are not wholly divorced from what we encounter behind the figure in Benesch 0237a or on the ground in Benesch 0242, or in the Portrait of Willem Ruyter in the Rijksmuseum (Not in Benesch), or in the background of Benesch 0255. The somewhat spiky treatment of the facial features is also less fluent than normal for Rembrandt, but has some parallels in Benesch 0442 (as does the hair) and Benesch 0451, as well as Benesch 0293 recto. The first two of these also have comparable sharp, straight lines descending near-diagonally from the shoulder towards the lower left to depict the clothing or shirt covering upper chest. Overall, therefore, there is considerable evidence in favour of retaining the attribution to Rembrandt. Comparisons with works by alternative artists, such as Govert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol or Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, are more distant by a large – not to say, unbridgeable - margin.[1]

Another question that has exercised commentators on the drawing concerns the nature of its relationship with Rembrandt’s painted Portrait of Saskia in Profile, now in Kassel (Bredius 101; Corpus A85, vol.vi, no.95). The painting seems to have been begun c.1633 but only completed nine years later, in 1642. The pose is similar, but in the painting Saskia wears a broad-brimmed hat and is shown only half-length, although originally the painting was probably somewhat larger below (vide infra). The hands and fingers are also differently positioned - in the oil the upper or right hand obscures the fingers of the lower, left hand, three of which are visible in the drawing. X-radiographs and infra-red images of the painting further reveal that the fingers of the upper hand originally ran slightly downwards from the horizontal, rather than upwards as here, and that the finger-tips almost touched the first of the pearl bracelets (this is clear in the X-radiograph). In another deviation, the drawing shows the figure holding a flower, which was probably also a feature of the painting at an early stage, although it (or perhaps more than one flower) was later changed into a diminutive green sprig.[2]

In the drawing there are also two dark strap-like forms that descend from the shoulders and converge in a ‘V’ on the hands, while in the painting only the sitter’s right shoulder has such an accoutrement, a fur trim to the cloak (at a steeper angle). At one point in the drawing, this was apparently continued around the back of the shoulders, as in the painting, but then cancelled out by the central of the three dark patches of wash behind the figure; in the X-radiograph of the painting, it seems that this extra piece of the fur was not originally envisaged and the left shoulder at no point seems to have included the ‘strap’, whether in the finished surface or in the X-radiograph and infra-red images of the oil.[3]

Because of these changes, it seems likely that the drawing was either made at an early stage in the painting’s gestation, at least before the change to the hands; or that the drawing was a fresh attempt to grapple with the composition, one that was giving the artist considerable trouble and took him nine years to complete. Whether the painting originally depicted Saskia full-length as in the drawing is thought to be very unlikely, as the wooden panel would have been exceptionally large,[4] but the attention given to the skirt and shadows below - even if they were apparently drawn rather rapidly - suggests that a full-length may well have been a concept that Rembrandt considered as he drew. Unfortunately for the art historian, the first indications over the underpaint in the Kassel picture seem to have been largely covered over and the image broadly recommenced, a procedure which seems to have obscured the underlying details of the composition, even as recorded in the X-radiograph and infra-red images. The Rembrandt Research Project postulated that there may only have been a monochrome initial lay-in of the composition that was later completely painted over.[5] It also worth remarking that despite the fame of the Kassel portrait, in its present state it is in many parts strangely un-Rembrandtesque, as if not only the whole background, which was apparently repainted in the early nineteenth century, but also the elaborate bejewelled collar and even the face were repainted by a disciplined but very different and more mechanical artist than Rembrandt.[6]

The controversy concerning the drawing’s relationship with the picture – and hence the drawing’s attribution - has at least partly arisen because in style it appears to belong to the later 1630s (Rembrandt’s drawings in iron-gall ink are usually dated c.1638-39, which marries well with the style here), while as already mentioned, the painting is thought to have been begun by c.1635 (perhaps in 1633 - one of the reasons many earlier commentators dated this and other drawings to c.1633). But if the above-noted ‘re-start’ on the painting was initiated in around 1638-39 – which is certainly a possibility – then the drawing could simply have been a sketch made by Rembrandt as he returned to the composition at that time. It is self-evidently above all a drapery study rather than a portrait, with a focus on the upper body and on the positioning of the hands. Nevertheless, the drawing must have been developed from the already existing painting. As we have seen, the upper hand in the first or at least an early version of the painting slanted down rather than up, so that the drawing could be seen as part of a fresh approach. The drawing suggests that Rembrandt toyed with the idea of adding a wider cloak and greatly expanding the hanging sleeve on the left of the composition, but again the painting and its underlying layers as seen through the investigative photographs shows no sign of this.

It might be interesting, though ultimately academic, to speculate as to whether Saskia is shown pregnant in the drawing, as the position of her hands – both here and in the painting as also in Benesch 0246 verso as mentioned above - might suggest. But to speculate that she is pregnant would involve the further speculation as to which of the many periods of pregnancy she underwent was depicted here, which would not provide meaningful consequences for dating the drawing; and it has been pointed out that we only know of the pregnancies of Saskia which ended in childbirth (albeit usually followed by the tragically early subsequent deaths of the infants, except in the case of Titus, born on 22nd September 1641) and that there may have been other, unrecorded pregnancies.[7] The flower – finally reduced to a small green sprig in the painting – could have referred to Saskia’s fecundity, albeit with less emphasis than in his painting, apparently using Saskia as his model, of Flora in St Petersburg.[8]

Benesch 0431, attributed to Ferdinand Bol, and a drawing attributed to Govert Flinck in the Albertina (Sumowski 947) appear to be pupils’ derivations based on the Kassel painting.[9]

Condition: generally good, though with a vertical tear from just right of top centre, and some general discolouration.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute of Art (Seilern Collection, inv. D.1978.PG.405)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1960, no.7, repr. (c.1633; shows Saskia and sees it as the germ of the Kassel painting); London, 1961, no. 405 (J. Wilde noted similarity with Portrait of Saskia in Kassel); Benesch, II, 1973, no.217A, repr. (as Benesch, 1960); Exh. London, 1981, no.142, repr. col. pl.xxi; Exh. London, 1983, no.4, repr. pl.1 (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0450); Corpus, II, under no.A85, pp.431 and 438, copy 3, repr. fig.9 (not Rembrandt; concoction by pupil of mid-1630s based on his Portrait of Saskia in Kassel and on Benesch 0217 [considered to be by Rembrandt]); Exh. Hamburg-Bremen, 2000-2001, under no.62, repr. fig.a (slightly later than Benesch 0217 and a bridge between it and the Kassel painting); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Hugh N. Squire until 1962; P.&.D. Colnaghi, London (their exhibition, June-July, 1962, no.31); Count Antoine Seilern (Princes Gate Collection), by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

[1] See Schatborn, 2010, for the main comparisons with Flinck, especially figs.11, 12, 29 and 31 (respectively Sumowski 948x, 953x [= Benesch A33], Benesch 0656 and Sumowski 951x). One can also add Benesch A12 (= London, 2010 [online], Flinck, no.3). His drawings nowhere exhibit comparable interior modelling or such bold and vigorous (yet judicious) handling without the calligraphy becoming over-dominant (as in Benesch 0204a).

[2] As suggested in Exh. London, 1983, no.4, the pose might have been inspired by the Mughal miniature copied in Benesch 0450.

[3] The painting is Corpus A85, and the X-radiograph and infra-red images are published in Corpus, II, pp.423 and 425, figs 2 and 3. An early copy/variant, in Antwerp (canvas, 112 x 89.5 cm, Antwerp, Museum voor Schone Kunsten), seems to have been made on the basis of the Kassel painting in the mid-1640s and does not appear to be relevant in the discussion of the present drawing (repr. op. cit, p.433, fig.10, and discussed again in Corpus vol.vi, under nos.95 and 269, where an attribution to Rembrandt himself is not entirely discounted). A great problem is posed by the present condition of the Kassel painting, which seems to have been very largely painted over, even in the face (see further below and n.5).

[4] Corpus, VI, under no.95, quotes the restorers of the Kassel version, who claim that the panel, though cut, could never have been very much taller. I am uncertain as to how one can be so dogmatic about a panel that has been planed thinner, re-set with new edgings and then cradled; but Ernst van de Wetering kindly pointed out to me (email 21 December 2015) that the use of a wooden panel rules out any likelihood that the painting was ever a full-length portrait.

[5] Corpus, II, p.430 (lower right column).

[6] Corpus, II, p.436, notes that: “It may be well to remember that many of Wilhelm's acquisitions were given 'in die Cur' (for treatment) to his court painter and-restorer Johann Georg von Freese (1701-1775) (see C. A. von Drach in: Katalog ... Cassel, 1888,p. xlviii).” Reading the Corpus, ii, catalogue entry, it is clear that the painting was only reluctantly accepted as by Rembrandt at all (see especially pp.429-30), while Van de Wetering in Corpus, vi, p.655, I think correctly suggests that it is very largely repainted, including the face. The painting was in the early 18th century recorded in the collection of Valerius Röver as being dated “Ao 1642”.

[7] An idea developed from Van de Wetering in Corpus, vi, under no.125.

[8] See Bredius 102, Corpus A 93 (vol.vi, no.125, with further literature). The green sprig in the Kassel painting was at one stage tentatively identified as rosemary, which might have been a symbol of remembrance for Saskia, who died in the year of the painting’s completion in 1642 (though rosemary can also stand for fidelity, love and marriage); but it has been described as ‘extremely doubtful’ that it is rosemary by the botanist-cum-art historian, Sam Segal (Corpus, II, p.437). On a practical level and not out of tune with Rembrandt’s practice as recorded by Arnold Houbraken, the reduced size of the twig allows the trompe-l’oeil gold brooch or adornment immediately above it to be shown to the full; more flowers would have obscured it. It may also have been ‘cut short’ like Saskia’s own life (although this would not be a common iconography).

[9] Both drawings are reproduced and discussed by Corpus, II, under no.A85, p.431, figs 7 and 8, alongside the present work (there fig.9).

4 November 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0218

Subject: Sheet of Seven Figure-Studies Including a Crying Child

Medium: Pen and brown ink, rubbed with the finger and touched with brown wash and, upper right, with white, on paper prepared with brown wash. Inscribed verso in graphite: “Inv.99/1881, K.D.Z. 2316, 228” and “f31-10” and in pen and brown ink by William Esdaile (see under Provenance below): “WE 1835” and “Rembrandt”.

218 x 185.

COMMENTS: Many drawings by Rembrandt have clearly been cut from larger sketch-sheets, but in Benesch 0218 and its near twin Benesch 0219, also in Berlin, we can gain a rare insight into the appearance of such drawings in their original state. Other pen drawings of this type include Benesch 0194, 0226, 0301, 0327, 0339, 0340 and 0360; and Rembrandt also made some sketch-sheet-style etchings, such as Bartsch 367/NH 162 and 369/NH177 of c.1639, the period to which the present drawing probably belongs.[1]

With its satisfying diagonal mise-en-page and its variety of characters, the drawing is reminiscent of leaves from medieval model-books - it seems almost as if the figures had been redrawn from earlier, smaller studies and then re-assembled on the page, with a view to the overall compositional effect.[2] Yet a number of factors suggest that the figures, who are individually all profoundly characterised, were all sketched directly from nature. First, the etchings mentioned above are in some cases equally self-consciously arranged, including the two showing heads of women, probably Saskia (Bartsch 365/NH 157 and 368/NH 161), which were clearly also done from nature. Secondly, there is the refined detailing of so many motifs, of hands, fingers, even finger-nails and veins in the man sounding the leper’s clapper: it seems highly unlikely that Rembrandt would replicate or even elaborate an earlier study in such exceptional detail (and in any case no such earlier studies are known). The manner in which the leper’s left hand and the full clapper is preserved by Rembrandt in full by not completing the profile of the back and elbow of the woman in front of him shows that he was drawn before her. Yet the shading below his nearer sleeve suggests that he may have been drawn after the woman at the left and the child.

The varying scale of the groups of figures leads us to a third reason for suggesting that these are sketches directly from nature: the leper and his companion are of wholly different proportions to the larger woman at the left or the man at the top right. The latter holds something in his right hand, perhaps alms for the lepers; yet he in turn is out of scale with the two figures at the lower right, who are apparently engaged in gossip (to judge from the woman’s gesture under her apron, possibly of a lewd nature)[3] at which the man smiles. The snivelling child seems to support itself on a door which infringes the woman’s space and stands on a step which is completely out of any perspectival or other relationship with the woman with the apron. The youngster reaches towards the woman at the left, who seems to descend a step and reaches back towards him. Although she carries a basket, she appears elderly, wears a hood for warmth, and may possibly be blind in her right eye, drawn as a diagonal slit. These two figures were probably drawn first of all.

The fourth reason is that these characters are all drawn with an extraordinary immediacy and spontaneity of touch. Not a single stroke suggests a copy, with its characteristic deliberation or flatness of line; all remains completely alive rather than pre-planned. When Rembrandt made copies, the result is more cursory (cf. the copy after Raphael’s Castiglione, Benesch 0451 as well as after Leonardo, Benesch 0443-0445). And finally we have the evidence of the written sources in corroboration, above all Arnold Houbraken, who had consulted some of Rembrandt’s pupils and relates that Rembrandt believed that the artist should wherever possible always followed nature directly – which must have applied in particular to his figure and landscape sketches.[4]

The drawing has a great deal to tell us about Rembrandt’s capacities as a draughtsman: the variety on one sheet, from the open, unfinished figure on the left, where movement is suggested by a superficially untidy, inexact web of lines (especially around the upper torso), to the miniaturistic treatment of the leper with the clapper, whose every sinew seems revealed; the preference for shading either vertically or diagonally, with only rare deviations from an approximately 45˚ angle; the shading lines that are often as evenly spaced as in a silverpoint drawing by Raphael or Leonardo; the variety of movement and gesture with heavier accents applied not only in denser lines for shadow, but also in pressure on the pen as found either in the bold passages of the woman on the left, or as corrective accents in the figure at the top right; shading also allows particular features to come forward in space –the apron and hand of the woman at the lower right, and the nearer arm of the woman above her,’brought forward’ optically by shading above it. Psychologically, too, the drawing penetrates deeply - and individually - into lives of suffering as well as moments of pain and pleasure. All these characters are apparently dropped casually on the page, where, however, they combine to form a highly original and satisfying unity. In all, the drawing confirms the place of Rembrandt as one of the very highest achievers in the realm of art.

As an iron-gall ink drawing, it is likely to date from c.1638-39 and apart from Benesch 0218 may be compared for style with many drawings made in the same medium, including Benesch 0203 recto, 0223 recto, 0230, 0231 and 0249. Cf. also two drawings that are not in Benesch, the Sketch for Joseph Interpreting the Dreams of the Butler and Baker, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, where the contrast in styles between the rapidly drawn Joseph and the more detailed Baker and Butler bears some resemblance to the arrangement here, and for the fine use of the pen at this period, the Bust of a Youth in a Turban (London art market). None of these are ‘documentary’ drawings, and among the latter perhaps Benesch 0161 and 0168 provide the closest analogies; but the more detailed touch in Benesch 0218 is exceptional and of a refinement and delicacy that is usually reserved by Rembrandt for his etchings.

For the motif of a woman with a recalcitrant infant, one might point to the earlier genre scene, the Disobedient Child (Benesch 0401).

Condition: slightly trimmed, otherwise generally good, with some small brown spots (upper centre, upper right, below the child and below the figure on the left) and a small loss at top right. The face of the figure at top right has been damaged where the touch of white flowed into the ink.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett SMPK (inv. KdZ 2316)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amtliche Berichte, ii, 1881, col.lxxxiii (acquisition listing); Lippmann, I, 2; Michel, 1890, p.51; Michael, 1893, p.573; von Seidlitz, 1894, p.121; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.157 (c.1635); Graul, 1906, no.11; Saxl, 1908, p.228 (as HdG, 1906); Berlin, 1910, no.269; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.148; (as HdG, 1906); Berlin, 1930, p.235; Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.243 (as HdG, 1906); Lugt, 1931, p.60; Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-33); Wichmann, 1940, no.27 (as HdG, 1906); Benesch, 1947, I, no.38, repr. ii, fig.38 (c.1633-34); Benesch, 1954/73, II, no.218, repr. (as Benesch 1947; links with a large group of ‘studies from nature’ as also with Benesch 0060 [surprisingly]); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.60 (as HdG, 1906); Rosenberg, 1956.I, p.129 (1630s); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.44 (mid-1630s); Scheidig, 1962, p.41, no.30; Haak, 1974, no.10 (as Benesch, 1947); Sciolla, 1976, under no.xii; Vogel-Köhn, 1981, pp.32-34, no.12 (c.1635); Amsterdam, 1981, under no.92, repr. fig.92a (c.1638; thematically related to Benesch 0222); Bruyn, 1983, pp.52 and 58, repr. fig.2 (as Benesch, 1947); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.92 (c.1638); Exhibition, Amsterdam-Vienna-New York-Cambridge, 1991–92, p.106, repr. fig.2; Exh. London, 1992, under no.25 (c.1639); Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997-98, under nos.1 and 6 (as Benesch, 1947); Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.38, repr. (late 1630s); Berlin, 2006, no.21, repr. (c.1638-39; compares as well as Benesch 0219 especially Benesch 0226 and 0233; child based on statuette in Rembrandt’s collection); Schatborn, 2019, no.317, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Marquis de Lagoy (L.1710); William Esdaile (L.2617 recto and verso); his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 48, bt Bale, £1-15-0; Charles Sackville Bale (L.640); his sale, London, Christie’s, 9-14th June, 1881, lot 2418; acquired via the dealer A. W. Thibaudeau by the present repository in 1881 (acquisition no.99-1881).

[1] See also Bartsch 363/NH 115 of c.1631-32, Bartsch 366/NH 33 of c.1631, Bartsch 365/NH 157 Bartsch 368/NH 161 of 1636 and Bartsch 370/NH 261 of 1651.

[2] As has been hinted by recent writers, including in Exh. Vienna, 2004.

[3] Already noted by Bevers in Berlin, 2006; or is this just our own projection, and she is merely keeping her hand warm or guarding her purse? She resembles the woman above her to some degree but not closely enough to be certainly the same.

[4] For example in the much-quoted passage, Houbraken, 1718-21, p.262: “Van deze meening was ook onze groote meester Rembrant, stellende zig ten grondwet, enkele naarvolging van de natuur, en alles wat daar buiten gedaan werd was by hem verdagt” (Of this opinion also was our great master Rembrandt, giving himself the ground-rule of solely [working from] nature, and everything which deviated from this was viewed by him as suspect). Of course one could argue that a copy based on a drawing that was made from nature might still fit in with Rembrandt’s preference. But for the other reasons enumerated above it seems improbable in this case.

First posted 13 November 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0219

Subject: Mosaic of Studies of Nine Figures, with Sketches for a Vertumnus and Pomona

Medium: Pen and brown ink, occasionally rubbed with the finger or touched with a semi-dry brush in brown wash and with some traces of white bodycolour, on paper prepared with brown wash. The drawing has been cut into fragments and is now made up of seven pieces of paper stuck down on a backing sheet, of which five have been rejoined to their original contiguous state, while two (at upper left) remain dislocated. There is a remnant of a ruled framing line at the left edge of the fragment to lower left. The ‘original’ backing-sheet was replaced in 1996 but the arrangement of the fragments was retained exactly.[1]

178 x 184 (the backing sheet); 173 x 174 (current largest dimensions of the original sheet). Inscribed on verso of the ‘original’ backing sheet (on which see above) by William Esdaile in pen and brown ink: “ WE” and “1835” and by another hand in graphite: “2315, Inv.100/1881” .

COMMENTS: The drawing, cut and then reassembled from fragments, belongs at least superficially to the same model-book pattern discussed under Benesch 0218 (qv). The loose pen-style of the woman on the left of the latter is also close to what we see here at the lower left, although the exacting detail in the leper in Benesch 0218 is never matched in Benesch 0219 – the drawings provide some instruction in Rembrandt’s stylistic variety at any given moment. Yet the two drawings, both in iron-gall ink, must date from the same period, c.1638-39.

What distinguishes the present drawing from the model-book is that two figures, at least - those at the lower left - represent Vertumnus and Pomona from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (chapter xiv):[2] The god of the seasons, Vertumnus, disguises himself as an elderly woman and tricks Pomona into conversing with him; he seduces her by relating a story of unrequited love. The subject was common in seventeenth century art and depicted by artists in Rembrandt’s immediate circle, including Ferdinand Bol (see further below). The duck-like head on a snake-like neck might also belong to the scene.

The model for Vertumnus, shown with a turban and with a lecherous expression as he speaks to the rather caricatured Pomona, resembles in general terms the elderly woman depicted in the upper left fragment, who is paired with another, younger woman; possibly these two figures are in the same guise, but here ‘Pomona’ looks out at the viewer and the old woman wears a flower-pot-style hat, like the figure at the lower right and the smaller head immediately above it. The facial resemblance between these figures (especially the flower-pot wearers at upper left and third down on the right) argues in favour of the idea that the sketches were made from nature rather than from the imagination, as has been claimed.[3] The figure at the lower right carries what appears to be a scythe of a type often shown in other depictions of Vertumnus and Pomona.[4]

While the other female head in the centre of the sheet could have been intended for the same scene in some way, either as Vertumnus or a third figure, the two men at the upper right must have been thought of in another context. That at the top right seems caricatured, though in a gesture of pleading or prayer, while the figure on the extreme right resembles the man on the centre left of Benesch 0340.[5] Both could have been onlookers at a spectacle.

Condition: apart from the cutting and reassembling, generally good. See further under medium above.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (KdZ 2315)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1835, no.83 (described as 'on one sheet' - perhaps before the parts were separated and rejoined); Lippmann, I, 18; Michel, 1893, p.573; von Seidlitz, 1894, p.121; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.159 (c.1635); Saxl, 1908, p.229 (c.1638); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.150 (c.1636); Neumann, 1918.I, no.47 (lower section perhaps for a Philemon and Baucis); Stockholm, 1920, under no.11,8 (c.1635); Berlin, 1930, i, p.235, ii, repr. pl.170 (c.1635); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.244 (c.1635); Wichmann, 1940, no.26 (c.1635); Schinnerer, 1944, no.24 (c.1635); Benesch, 1947, I, under no.38 (c.1633-34); Benesch, I, 1954/73, no.219, repr. (c.1633-34); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.50 (c.1635); Slive, 1965, no.18 (c.1635); Fuchs, 1968, p.13, repr. fig.12 (c.1635); Sciolla, 1976, under no.xii; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.92 (c.1638); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.18 (c.1635-38); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-Lonsdon, 1991-92.I, under no.8; Starcky, 1999, pp.40-41 (c.1633-34); Berlin, 2006, no.22, repr. (c.1638-39; studies all from imagination; compares esp. figure centre right with Benesch 0340); Schatborn, 2019, no. 316, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); purchased through Samuel Woodburn from Lawrence’s estate in 1835 by William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, Christie's, 17 June, 1840, lot 83, bt Bale with lot 82 ('Abraham supplicating God in favour of Sodom') £5-5-0; Charles Sackville Bale (L.640); his sale, London, Christie’s, 9-14 June, 1881, lot 2424, bt A. W. Thibaudeau, from whom purchased by the present repository in 1881 (acquisition no. 100-1881).

[1] See Berlin, 2006, no.22.

[2] As first suggested by Neumann, 1918.I, no.47, and followed by Benesch, 1954/73, no.219.

[3] See Berlin, 2006, no.22; cf. also the remarks under Benesch 0218.

[4] See the painting of 1644 by Ferdinand Bol now in Cincinnati (inv. 1957.212; Sumowski, Gem. I, no.84, repr., with references to two further versions by Bol); also Benesch 0165 and Benesch 0553, now also ascribed to Bol.

[5] As noted by Bevers in Berlin, 2006, no.22.

First posted 19 November 2015.

 

 

Benesch 0220

Subject: Head of a Bearded Old Man in a Cap

Medium: Pen and dark brown ink.

63 x 61.

COMMENTS: The drawing belongs with Benesch 0221, with which it shares the same provenance since the 18th century. Both are drawn in dark brown ink of the same hue. Yet Benesch 0220 is more precise, while Benesch 0221 is more liquid in handling and connects in style more clearly than the former with drawings of the 1640s (see under that number). Yet as we know from the documentary drawing of Two Men in Conversation (Benesch 0500a), two heads on the same sheet and drawn together can be remarkably different in style and degree of detail.

Benesch 0220 has some similarities with a number of works by or attributed to Rembrandt’s pupils, for example, the head of Abraham in the Dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael (Benesch 0524; London, 2010 [online], no.75 as ‘attributed to’ Rembrandt, with comparisons to Bol) and to a lesser degree the so-called Jacob and Rachel also in the British Museum (Benesch 0528; London, 2010 [online], no.74 as ‘attributed to’ Rembrandt, with comparisons to Flinck). Another revealing comparison is with the single Head of a Man on the verso of the ‘documentary’ drawing, the Star of the Kings in the British Museum (Benesch 0736 but the verso not illustrated; London, 2010 [online], no.38, with the illustration of the verso); although similarly posed and with a beard, the style seems rather distant.

Yet, to counterbalance this, the head of the father in the Return of the Prodigal Son, now in Haarlem (Benesch 0519), never doubted as Rembrandt’s work, has many stylistic and conceptual features in common with the Berlin Head (Benesch 0220): The emphatic lines over the bridge of the nose and in the profile of the shoulder are close in their description, and the quality of the modelling is not markedly inferior in Benesch 0220. The vertical hatching on the shoulder resembles that in the lower figure in Benesch 0241.

Two studies of heads that are, however, yet more controversial in attribution, Benesch 0674 and 0675, are also not far removed from these drawings.

Like Benesch 0221, this is a slight drawing, hampering a definitive judgment, but on the basis of the above evidence it cannot be dismissed out of hand and is retained here as ‘attributed to’ Rembrandt. As with Benesch 0221, most commentators now ignore or reject the drawing, but on the basis of our comparisons an attribution to Rembrandt seems to me quite likely.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1640-45.

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett SMPK (inv.5250)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.575; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.116; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.105; Berlin, 1930, I, p.232, Inv.5250 (c.1635); Exh. Berlin, 1930, p.46 (c.1635); Benesch, 1935,p.16; Benesch, 1954/73, no.220, repr. (c.1633); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.48 (c.1635); Exh. Weimar, 1999, under no.37 (doubtful, according to Bevers; compares Benesch 0674); The Present Catalogue, 2015; Berlin, 2018, no.139, repr. (School of Rembrandt, c.1642-45; like Benesch 0221, was perhaps cut from a model sheet; compares Benesch 0190 and Benesch 0674; not far from Ferdinand Bol); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: John Bouverie (c.1722/1723-1750) (L.325); by descent to Edward Bouverie; Francis Seymour Haden; probably his sale, London, Sotheby's, 15 June, 1891, part of lot 575: "Three Studies of Heads (one not by Rembrandt) pen and bistre. From the collection of E. Bouverie", bt Deprez, £8-10s; Adolf von Beckerath (1834-1915), with whose collection acquired in 1902 by the present repository in return for a lifetime annuity.

First posted 5 December 2015.

 

Benesch 0221

Subject: Head of a Man in a Turban, profile to right

Medium: Pen and dark brown ink, touched by a later hand in grey wash

55 x 54.

COMMENTS: See the remarks to Benesch 0220, with which the present work shares the same provenance since the early eighteenth century. As noted there, the documentary drawing of Two Men in Conversation (Benesch 0500a), for example, reveals that two heads on the same sheet and drawn together can be markedly different in style and degree of detail.

The style, here more liquid than in Benesch 0220, seems to belong to the 1640s, as is suggested by various comparisons, including with the documentary study of an Old Man Led by a Woman (Benesch 0185; Louvre) of c.1645-48 for the Hundred Guilder Print. In the Louvre drawing, the head on the upper left of the sheet has a loop under the ear that marks the pivot of the jaw – also seen in Benesch 0184, another sketch used for the same etching - and this ‘trick’ is repeated in Benesch 0221. The latter also resembles the turbaned head of the man in the right in the Two Men in Conversation of 1641 (Benesch 55a). So the drawing may date from around 1640-45. Other drawings that seem close in style include Benesch 0670, 0677 and 0678. Two studies of heads that are however more controversial in attribution, Benesch 0674 and 0675, are also not far removed from Benesch 0220 and 0221.

Like Benesch 0220, this is a slight drawing, hampering a definitive judgment, but on the basis of the above evidence it cannot be dismissed out of hand and is retained here as ‘attributed to’ Rembrandt. Most commentators now ignore or reject the drawing, but on the basis of the above comparisons an attribution to Rembrandt seems to me quite likely.

Condition: Good (apart from later grey wash additions), though affected by damp, especially at the back of the head, probably at an early date, so that some lines have spread.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1640-45.

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett SMPK (inv.5249)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.575; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.115; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.104; Berlin, 1930, I, p.232, Inv.5249 (c.1635); Exh. Berlin, 1930, p.46 (c.1635); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, 1954/73, no.221, repr. (c.1633); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.49 (c.1635); Exh. Weimar, 1999, under no.37 (doubtful, according to Bevers; compares Benesch 0674 in Weimar); The Present Catalogue, 2015; Berlin, 2018, no.140, repr. (School of Rembrandt, c.1642-45; like Benesch 0220, was perhaps cut from a model sheet; compares Benesch 0190 and Benesch 0674; not far from Ferdinand Bol); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: John Bouverie (c.1722/1723-1750) (L.325); by descent to Edward Bouverie; Francis Seymour Haden; probably his sale, London, Sotheby's, 15 June, 1891, part of lot 575: "Three Studies of Heads (one not by Rembrandt) pen and bistre. From the collection of E. Bouverie", bt Deprez, £8-10s; Adolf von Beckerath (1834-1915), with whose collection acquired in 1902 by the present repository in return for a lifetime annuity.

First posted 6 December 2015.

 

Benesch 0222

Subject: An Elderly Woman Giving a Drink to a Child

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared light brown.

73 x 120. No watermark; chain lines: 25h.

COMMENTS: The drawing has been compared with several other drawings by Rembrandt both to support and refute its attribution (see under Literature below). The key comparison, it seems to me, is with the figure of Pomona at the lower left corner of Benesch 0219: the same rather abstracted tangle of lines is used to describe the torso, although here there are more lines used to no greater security of modelling. The headdress takes these qualities to a further extreme, while the child and cup are also drawn with little or indeed even less success in conveying a sense of structure. Yet the face of the woman, with its severe but characterful expression, emulates Rembrandt very closely: note the line by the side of the nose and mouth that describes the edge of the cheek together with a few dashes and dots in and around the cheek itself, used in the same way in the profile heads of women in Benesch 0218 and 0223, for example. The fine parallel shading across the eyebrows has links with the left-hand figure in the documentary drawing of Ruth and Naomi (Benesch 0161 recto) and also with other drawings of the iron-gall ink period, c.1638-39, such as Benesch 0235 and 0242.

In the light of these comparisons the attribution to Rembrandt cannot be dismissed entirely. The drawing seems far from the style of Rembrandt’s pupils – perhaps the nearest is Govert Flinck in such drawings as Benesch 0656 [1] – and too spontaneous to be seen as an imitation, even by such a close associate. The modelling and characterisation of the face also seem more particularised. Yet there are also sufficient reasons, especially the generally uneconomical and untidy modelling, to relegate the drawing to the ‘attributed to’ section of this catalogue.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (L.2228; inv.RP-T-1897-A-3478)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, II, no.28a; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1193; Saxl, 1908, p.337 (c.1632); Kauffmann, 1919, p.56, n.45 (c.1640); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1921, no.37 (rather early); Amsterdam, 1942, no.15, repr. pl.7 (c.1635; compares Benesch 0223 and 0234); Benesch, 1954/73, ii, no.222, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0218 and 0219); Slive, 1965, no.245 (1633-35); Sumowski, 1971, p.125 (c.1634); Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-78, under no.86, n.2 (as Benesch); Amsterdam, 1985, no.92, repr. (school work; second half of 1630s; ink and paper as Rijksmuseum’s Saskia Sitting by a Window [Not in Benesch; inv.RP-T-1930-51]; described as ‘messy’ and compared unfavourably especially with Benesch 0218); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Hendrik Valkenburg; his sale, Amsterdam, Tersteeg and F. Muller, 2 February, 1897, part of lot 156 (‘lot d’estampes et de dessins anciens’), bt Valk for the present repository, f.68.20.

[1] See London, 2010 (online), attributed to Flinck, no.9 and Schatborn, 2010, pp.28-29.

First posted 2 January 2016.

 

Benesch 0223

Subject: A Blind Elderly Woman Led by a Boy, and a beggar boy

Verso: A Bearded Man in a High Fur Hat

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, partly corrected in white (in the central figure of the boy) on paper prepared with pale brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (bistre); inscribed verso in pen and brown ink by William Esdaile: “1835 WE” and “Rembrandt”

183 x 169. Watermark: none; chain lines:23-24h.

COMMENTS: A characteristic example of Rembrandt’s informal figure sketches from the late 1630s, drawn in iron-gall ink. Among the closest comparisons are those with Benesch 0218-19 and, among the documentary drawings, with Benesch 0161 and 0168.

The characterisation of the old woman, whose face is depicted in the greatest detail and profoundly characterised, seems to have been the main focus of Rembrandt’s attention. That the boy was drawn later is revealed by the reserve on his shoulder for the woman’s left hand. The boy was also given a tall hat, reminiscent of the paper crowns worn at Epiphany, and it seems that Rembrandt blotted out the crown of head, with its curly hair, with white, which has now become transparent again.[1] He carries a bag or basket, dangling from his right elbow, a feature also of the rapid sketch of a boy (with straight hair, though similarly clad) at the lower right, whose left arm is outstretched with second bag. Both boys cast a shadow on the wall of an unseen building (a step is indicated in the larger sketch) and it seems likely that Rembrandt was depicting beggars receiving alms at a door.

The slight sketch on the verso, drawn with an especially fine nib, has been compared with the left-hand figure in Benesch 0687[2] and with the penwork in Benesch 0230.[1]

Condition: generally good; a few minor spots and stains.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Statliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.3772)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Vosmaer, 1868, p.515; Vosmaer, 1877, p.601; Amtliche Berichte, 6, 1885, col.LXVI (acquisition report); Lippmann, I, 23; Michel, 1893, p.574; von Seidlitz, 1894, p.121; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.141 (c.1635); Kurth, in Wickhoff, 1906, pp.11-12 (shows Hanna and Samuel); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.131 (c.1635); Berlin, 1930, I, p.234, II, repr. pl.169 (c.1635); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.242 (c.1635); Lugt, 1931, p.60; Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-33); Benesch, 1947, I, under no.38 (c.1633-34); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.223, repr. (c.1633-34; refutes Kurth, 1906; compares Benesch 0218 and related works); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.58 (c.1635); Slive, 1965, no.23 (c.1635); Bernhard, 1976, p.88 (verso c.1633-34); Amsterdam, 1985, under nos.13 and 92 (c.1638); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.20; Exh. London, 1992, under no.25 (c.1639; compares verso to head on left of Benesch 0687); Starcky, 1999, pp.42-43 (c.1633-34); Van Straten, 2002, p.281; Exh. London-Paris-Cambridge, 2002-2003, under no.45; Berlin, 2006, no.23, repr. (c.1638-39; compares verso, thought perhaps to depict an actor, to Benesch 0230); London, 2010 (online), under no.22 (as Exh. London, 1992); Schatborn, 2019, nos 318 [recto] and 319 [verso], repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2183 [unusually on recto and verso]); Thomas Hudson (L.2432); Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); acquired from his estate in 1835 by William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, Christie's, 30 June, 1840, lot 51, bt Gaarle, £4-4s; De Kat; his sale, Rotterdam, 4 March, 1867, lot 215; Jacob de Vos, jun. (L.1450); his sale, Amsterdam, Roos, Muller, Van Pappelendam & Schouten and Van Gogh, 22-24 May, 1883, lot 411; acquired by the present repository from the Disconto-Gesellschaft in 1885.[3]

[1] As noted by Bevers in Berlin, 2006.

[2] In Exh. London 1992 and London 2010 (online) – see under Literature.

[3] Holm Bevers informs me (email 7 December 2016) that it is likely that the Disconto-Gesellschaft acquired the drawings at the de Vos sale through an intermediary when the Berlin museums' own budget was stretched.

First posted 17 January 2016.

 

Benesch 0224

Subject: A Beggar in a Wide-Brimmed Hat, holding a stick and walking to right, with a Bust of a Young Woman

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed on verso of mount, lower left, in graphite: “#136” and centre: “189” [crossed out] and lower right: “D31995”

165 x 115. Watermark: none visible.

COMMENTS: The drawing is among the more detailed studies of Amsterdam street characters in Rembrandt’s oeuvre, partly because it is drawn with an unusually thin nib. This trait makes the drawing difficult to date but the closest analogies are with other ‘thin nib’ drawings from c.1636, such as Benesch 0120, 0223 verso, 0230, 0327 (especially the two figures on the right), 0360 recto, and 0411. But it has to be said that there are also points of comparison with drawings that are thought to date from c.1640-41, such as Benesch 500a (documentary), Benesch 0606 as also with the now often-rejected drawing of Three Studies of an Old Man with a High Fur Cap (British Museum, Benesch 0688). Some passages of shading even resemble Benesch 0891, usually dated c.1652, but the present drawing appears to be significantly earlier. Yet for these reasons the date suggested here is less precise than usual, c.1636-42.

The drawing may have inspired Benesch 0225 and been made at around the same time, probably by a pupil.

Condition: Generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1636-42.

COLLECTION: Private Collection, USA Boston (George and Maida Abrams Collection)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Parker, 1931, no.54 (compares to Rembrandt’s Leiden period etchings of beggars); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Van Regteren Altena, 1948, no.20; Exh. London, 1972, no.23; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.224, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0223 and 0225); Lugt, 1956, p.375; Exh. Amsterdam-Vienna-New York-Cambridge, 1991-92, pp.12 and 106-7, no.44, repr.; New York, 1999, under no.67; Exh. London-Paris-Cambridge, 2002-3, no.45. repr. (c.1633-34); Exh. Greenwich (Conn.), 2011-12, no.1, repr.; Exh. Denver, 2018-19, no.30, repr. (c.1633-34); Schatborn, 2019, no. 242, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Earl of Warwick; Warwick sale, London, Sotheby’s, 17 June, 1936, lot 134; P. Mertens, Portugal; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 23 November 1971, lot 12, bt Colnaghi; P. & D. Colnaghi, London (dealer; their catalogue, June-July, 1972, no.23, repr. frontis.); Charles Wyzanski, Cambridge, MA, from whom acquired by the present owner in 1978.

First posted 21 January 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0225

Subject: A Bearded Old Man in a Wide-Brimmed Hat, walking to left

Medium: Pen and brown ink, with grey wash by a later hand; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

128 x 103.

COMMENTS: The drawing is not easy to accommodate in Rembrandt’s oeuvre and I have come close to incorporating it into the ‘Attributed to Rembrandt’ designation. But in my view there are enough common elements with Rembrandt’s own drawings to admit it. The overall effect is severely compromised by the cut below, the browned condition of the sheet and the considerable later additions, rather crudely drawn in grey wash, which define an arch as if the draughtsman concerned had connected the drawing with the old man in the Hundred Guilder Print (Bartsch 74; NH.239).

Yet looking ‘through’ the damage, one is struck by the fine drawing of the facial features, with some surgically precise parallel shading in the forehead and neck and (in darker lines) in the lappet of the hat. The unhesitating profile of the face, with the squared off nose-tip - close to the documentary drawing Benesch 0336 of c.1634 (a type that is also found in Benesch 0036A and 0087) - seem persuasive. No Rembrandt pupil, such as Ferdinand Bol (the most likely alternative contender), approaches this degree of refinement. The detailed penwork describing the collar resembles Benesch 0314, while the vertical shading at various points in the drapery compares closely with, for example, the shading behind the upper figure in Benesch 0197. For the beard, cf. the documentary drawing, Benesch 0336; the clothes are outlined similarly in Benesch 0143. The looping lines in the outer profile of the further sleeve also have links with Benesch 0161, another documentary sheet.

Superficially the drawing resembles Benesch 0224, though in reverse. In both, a fine nib was used and yet the style and approach varies, arguing that they should probably be assigned different dates.

Condition: the paper has become brown though light-staining; probably trimmed from a larger sheet, especially below; reworked in grey wash by a later hand (see further under Medium and Comments above).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1635-37

COLLECTION: USA San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts (inv.1981.2.3)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.235; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.225, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Ben.0218-9, 0223 and particularly Benesch 0238); Exh. San Francisco, de Young, Rembrandt: Selected Prints and Drawings, 1982-1983; Exh. San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor (henceforth CPLH), Recent Acquisitions of the Achenbach Foundation of Graphic Art (henceforth AFGA), 1981-1982, Part 1: 1500-1940, 1983; Exh. San Francisco, CPLH, 1985, p.74, no.29; Exh. Amsterdam-Vienna-New York-Cambridge, 1991–2, p.106, n.2; Exh. London-Paris-Cambridge, 2002-3, under no.45, repr. fig.2 (same model or type as Benesch 0224); Exh. Greenwich, 2011-12, under no.1 (as in Exh. London etc., 2002-3); Exh. San Francisco, 2013, p.35, repr. fig.32 (c.1633-34; cut below, giving the drawing an ungainly appearance; reflects Rembrandt’s youthful interest in old age; presumably a neighbour out for a stroll). [Not in Schatborn, 2019]

PROVENANCE: Cornelis Ploos van Amstel; Jacob de Vos, Jr. (L. 1450), I. Q. van Regteren Altena; Franz Koenigs; Paul Cassirer, Amsterdam; with Colnaghi, London (dealer), 1979; Shaunagh Fitzgerald, Ltd., London (dealer) 1981, from whom purchased 31 December 1981 by the present repository with the Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Income Fund.

First posted 28 January 2016.

 

Benesch 0226

Subject: Head of a Man with Three Sketches of Women Each Holding a Child

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with brown wash. At top left and bottom right corners, possible remnants of old numbers. Inscribed verso, lower left, by Esdaile: “1835 WE” and “Rembrandt”

188 x 147. Watermark: flail within a chaplet (similar to Churchill 544, 1640 and Voorn 26, 1641)

COMMENTS: A characteristic drawing of c.1639 in iron-gall ink, belonging to the series of sketches of the lives of women (vrouwenleven – see under Benesch 0194). The watermark is the same as that mentioned under in Benesch 0246, which may show the same model (the upper woman here, at least) and the mark also appears in the paper of Benesch 0393 and of the Youth Walking with a Pole, now in the Rijksmuseum (Not in Benesch; inv.RP-T-1984-119). Benesch 0228 must have been made at the same time. The variety of finish is worth noting, from the merely outlined woman at the lower left (compare the figure outside the door in Benesch 0406) to the more highly realised woman at the lower right. The detailed drawing of the hair of the central figure is significant for underpinning the attribution of Benesch 0217.

Compare the head of a man with his black chalk equivalent in Benesch 0370.

Condition: two repairs along right edge; otherwise generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: USA New York, Morgan Library (inv. I, 190)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Fairfax-Murray, 1905-12, I, no.190, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.427; Exh. New York, 1919 (no catalogue); Exh. San Francisco, 1920, no.375; Benesch, 1935, p.24; Exh. Toronto, 1951, Drawings, no.2; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.226, repr. (c.1633-34 comparing Benesch 0194, 0224, 0227 and 0246 verso); van Regteren Altena, 1955.I, pp.118-20; Drost, 1957, pp.160 and 172, no.178; Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.20, repr. (c.1634-35; compares female model to Benesch 0246, Benesch 0247 and Benesch 0248); Exh. Hartford, 1960, no.77; Vogel-Köhn, 1974, no.3; Exh. Paris-Antwerp-London-New York, 1979–80, no.67, repr.; Schatborn, 1981.I, p.27, repr. fig.26; Amsterdam, 1985, no.13, n.5; Rotterdam, 1988, under no.9; Exh. Cambridge (Mass.), 1989-90 (ex. Cat.); Exh. London, 1992, under no.29 (same watermark in Benesch 0393, 0246 and Youth Walking with a Pole in Rijksmuseum [Not in Benesch; inv. RP-T-1984-119], all c.1639; perhaps same woman shown in Benesch 0246 verso); Exh. New York, 1996 (no cat.); Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997-98, under no.7; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.79, repr. and under no.58; Exh. Brussels, 2005, under no.9, repr. fig.1 (basis for Benesch 0227); New York, 2006, no.209, repr. pl.19; London, 2010 (online), under no.26 (as Exh. London, 1992); Schatborn, 2019, no.226, repr. (c.1635).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); sold with his collection in 1835 through Samuel Woodburn to William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 6, bt Woodburn with lot 5 for 12s; Samuel Woodburn; Lawrence-Woodburn sale, London, Christie’s, 4-8 June, 1860, lot 757, bt Morant, £1-18-0; possibly George J. Morant (fl. c.1860-65) of Hayling, Hampshire and Regent’s Park, London; possibly his sale, London, Foster, 14-16 May, 1862, lot 93, bt Neale, 6s; Charles Fairfax Murray (1848-1919); purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan; inherited by his son, J. Pierpont Morgan, by whom given to the present repository, 1924.

First posted 31 January 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0227

Subject: Study of a Small Child

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with brown wash; ruled framing lines in graphite.

68 x 57. No watermark; chain lines: 23h.

COMMENTS: By its very slightness this alluring little sketch is difficult to assess. But at almost every turn the lines lack the fluency of Rembrandt’s pen, while at others, such as the style of the shading under the elbow and in the rump, where the ink is slightly paler, it seems downright uncharacteristic. While it might be tempting to suggest that in these areas the drawing has simply been retouched, the effect of practically all the other lines is harsh, and their even thickness reminiscent of an etching. Perhaps the most successful moment is the profile of the child’s face, with a short stroke to indicate the nose, but here it could have been derived from Benesch 0226.[1] However, because the technique, with iron-gall ink on paper prepared with brown wash, is identical to Rembrandt’s own in c.1638-39, it is likely that the drawing was made in Rembrandt’s studio in these years. Those who might wish to attribute the drawing to Rembrandt himself would take heart from its analogies with Benesch 0229 – a comparison made by Benesch himself – but the handling there is significantly more lively. A closer comparison would be with Benesch A025 (see under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab).

It is of interest that the earliest known attribution of the drawing was to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, with whose style the drawing is not wholly incompatible (particularly if he was imitating drawings by Rembrandt). But his known pen sketches lack the attention to detail and the stiff formulations of the pen seen here, so that an attribution to him is far from persuasive.[2] Condition: good, but a fragment.

Summary attribution: Anonymous Rembrandt School (Gerbrand van den Eeckhout??)

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: B Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts (inv.4060/1205, marked with smaller variant of L.1834)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Brussels, 1913, no.1205 (Van den Eeckhout); Benesch, 1933-34, p.302, n.9, repr. fig.253 (Rembrandt, c.1632-33); Van Puyvelde and Goldschmidt, 1937, no.13 (1635-40; compares Benesch 0284 and 0670); Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.81, repr. pl.lii; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.227, repr. (c.1633-34; compares especially Benesch 0229); Exh. Brussels, 1962-63, no.167; Exh. Brussels, 1967, no.104, repr.; Exh. Brussels, 1967-68, no.343; Exh. Geneva, 1969-70, no.104; Benesch, 1970, p.281, n.11 (repeating Benesch, 1933-34); Roy, 1970-71, p.57, n.3 (not Van den Eeckhout); Exh. Brussels, 1971, no.23, repr.; Béguin, 1978, p.186; Exh. Brussels, 2005, no.9, repr. (anon. pupil or follower; HdG attributed to Rembrandt in a not on the mount in the 1920s, with which van Regteren Altena concurred similarly in 1970; MRK doubted the drawing orally in 1996; perhaps based on Benesch 0226; perhaps by an artist who had access to Rembrandt’s ‘vrouwenleven’ drawings in van de Cappelle’s collection); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jean de Grez; presented with his collection by his widow to the present repository, 1913.

[1] As suggested by Hautekeete in Exh. Brussels, 2005.

[2] One might compare Benesch 0071 and 0073-75.

First posted 1 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0228

Subject: A Standing Woman with a Child in her Arms, three-quarter length

Verso: laid down on a 20th century mat.

Medium: Pen and brown ink; inscribed lower right in pen and brown ink in an early hand: “R”

99 x 62. Watermark: none; chain lines: uncertain (laid down).

Mat: probably 20th century, white card with a grey wash border.

COMMENTS: A characteristic and lively example of Rembrandt’s penmanship in the late 1630s. Benesch 0226 is close in style (especially the figure at the lower right), though here Rembrandt seems to have used bistre rather than iron-gall ink. The drawing serves as a clear example of Rembrandt’s habit of first making a light sketch in hair-thin lines before finishing it with much broader and bolder work, which in this case he also used to extend the form of the apron and to change the position of the child. Benesch described the woman as a nurse, which seems likely. For the motif, compare especially Benesch 0403 Verso and Benesch 0403A (qqv).

Condition: generally good, though probably a fragment

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (on loan from the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1940 (Koenigs Collection, L.1023a on verso of mat) [Inv. R22].

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.263; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.228; Van Regteren Altena, 1955.I, p.120; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.45; Sumowski, 1956, p.234, n.2; Drost, 1957, p.172, repr. fig. 176; Rotterdam, 1969, p.21, repr. pl.9; Exh. New York-Boston-Chicago, 1972-73, no.85, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1973, no.85; Vogel-Köhn, 1974, p.29, no.26; Forssman, 1976, p.310, repr. fig10; Schatborn, 1981.I, no.20, repr.; Starcky, 1985, repr. fig.21; Rotterdam, 1988, no.9, repr. (c.1633-35; compares Benesch 0226); Exh. Rotterdam, 2005-6, no.6, repr.; Exh. Istanbul, 2006, no.6, repr.; Exh. Lisbon, 2008-9 (no cat.); Schatborn, 2019, no.232, repr. (c.1635).

PROVENANCE: John, Lord Northwick; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 1-4 November, 1920, lot 177 (with Benesch 0247); his subsequent sale, London, Sotheby’s, 5-6 July, 1921, lot 100 (with Benesch 0247); Comte de Robiano; his sale, Amsterdam, Mensing, 15-16 June, 1926, lot 445 (with Benesch 0247); acquired in 1926 by Franz Koenigs (L.1023a); his collection purchased and given in 1940 by D.G. van Beuningen to the Boijmans Museum Foundation (Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen).

First posted 1 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0229

Subject: A Young Woman, half-length, her left hand to her mouth

Verso: Sketch of a Head

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink. On verso only, ruled framing lines in black ink (partial); numbered by Bonnat top right in pen and brown ink: “26”

79 x 74. Watermark; chain lines:

COMMENTS: The model appears to be a young maid wearing a cap. Although probably trimmed from a larger sheet of studies, the drawing on the recto seems wholly complete in itself. The pensive, hand-to-mouth gesture occurs again at the top right of the etching, Studies of the Head of Saskia and Others of 1636 (Bartsch 365; NH 157), but stylistically the comparison serves only to confirm that the date of the drawing is later, c.1638-39. This is confirmed by its analogies with the the documentary drawings, Benesch 0161 recto and 0168 (the top right figure), as well as with Benesch 0203 recto, 0244, 0246 recto and 0255.

The lively, if incipient study of a head on the verso, apparently expressing surprise or urgency, clearly dates from the same time as the recto but like a number of Rembrandt sketches it is not easy to find close parallels among Rembrandt’s other drawings. Perhaps Benesch 0237 may be compared for the eyes, though more with Benesch 0223 verso and 0292 for the irises drawn with an open circle (also seen in the Portrait of Willem Ruyter as an Inn-Keeper, not in Benesch [Rijksmuseum, RP-T-1996-6]). The parallel lines delineating the nose are encountered in pen in Benesch 0297, 0219 (the old woman in the upper left sketch), Benesch 0230 and the documentary drawing of Maria Trip, Benesch 0442. The hair is not unlike that of the uppermost woman in Benesch 0226.

Condition: good (the drawing was restored in 2006).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv.RF 4682; manuscript inventory, vol. 20, p. 265)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Dutuit, 1885, p.96; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.726 (c.1635); Paris, 1933, no.1174 (c.1636; compares etched Portrait of Saskia, Bartsch 365/NH 157; and Benesch 0250 and 0255); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.229, repr. (c.1633-34; as Paris, 1933); Benesch, 1964 p.112; Foucart, 1966, pp.44ff., repr. fig.4; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.153; Starcky, 1985, pp.258-60 (dates c.1637-38, comparing Benesch 0218-19, 0223 and 0161); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.18, repr. (as Starcky, 1985); Exh. Paris. 2006-7, no.20, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, nos 332 [recto] and 333 [verso], repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Léon Bonnat, by whom acquired before 1885 (L.1714, and inscribed with his number from his Rembrandt album, top right, “26”); presented by him to the present repository in 1919.

First posted 3 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0230

Subject: The Actor Willem Ruyter with Three Other Actors, all in oriental costume

Verso: Not visible (laid down).

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, the paper discoloured to dark brown but probably prepared with brown wash. Ruled framing lines in pen and dark brown ink. Inscribed below, probably in the 19th century: “Dessin original de Rembrandt” and with various 19th-20th century inscriptions on the mat.

151 x 142. Laid down on a 19th century mat of white card.

COMMENTS: For the actor, Willem Ruyter, whose corpulent frame is identifiable on the left, see Benesch 0120. The performance requiring the oriental costumes seen here has not been identified.[1]

The use of iron-gall ink on paper prepared with brown wash is characteristic for c.1638-39, 1639 being the year of Ruyter’s death (he was buried on 22 April). Here, however, the nib is unusually fine, making comparisons with other drawings difficult. Among Rembrandt’s documentary drawings perhaps the closest in Benesch 0161 recto, where the drapery of the nearer figure resembles that worn by Ruyter here on the left. Benesch 0246 verso is comparable in this respect. The Bust of a Youth in a Turban, formerly on the London art market (not in Benesch) is also drawn with a fine nib but is a more focussed detail study. Benesch 0223 verso also combines a fine nib with iron-gall ink and has some analogies in the zig-zag diagonal shading of the further arm. Compare also Benesch 0202.

Condition: faded; the paper discoloured to dark brown.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts (inv. AG1868.9.77)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Gonse, 1904, p.314; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.230 (early); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.230, repr. (c.1633-34); Lugt, 1956 (Suppl.), under no.1330a; Albach, 1977, p.17, repr. fig. 1 (identifies Ruyter on the left); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-92.I, p.42, n.5; Schatborn and de Winkel, 1996, p.388, repr. fig. 3 (c.1638); Exh. Paris, Salon du Dessin (LaBourse), 2011 (no catalogue); Lugt online (consulted 4 Feb 2016); Schatborn, 2019, no.254, and p.143, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: André Hyppolyte Lemonnier (1794-1871; L. Suppl. 1330a) by whom given to the present repository in 1868.

[1] A. Kemp’s “Droeff-eyndigh-spel van de moort van Sultan Osman”, played at the Schouwburgh in Amsterdam from 6-14 March 1639, might be a candidate. On the other hand the gestures have been interpreted comically, with one figure apparently pointing at Ruyter’s large stomach and laughing (Schatborn and de Winkel, loc. cit.). Perhaps an intermission?

First posted 4 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0231

Subject: Standing Man in a Broad and Fringed Hat

Verso: see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared brown; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: “44[?] / 100 [?]”

160 x 99. Watermark: none; chain lines: 25h.

COMMENTS: The drawing is a characteristic figure study by Rembrandt, one of the many he made in iron-gall ink in c.1638-39.

It has been surmised that the figure could be an actor, mainly because of his fringed hat.[1] But while possible this is uncertain: similar garb is worn in what is probably a marriage Portrait of a Man as a Shepherd painted by Rembrandt’s pupil Barend Fabritius in 1660.[2]

For style compare the documentary drawing, Benesch 0161 recto as well as Benesch 0218, 0238, 0241 and 0223, for example.

Condition: not good – faded, spotted and mottled and in the hat also damp-damaged; iron-gall ink ‘burn’ also affects the drawing.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: B Brussels, Musées royaux des beaux-arts (inv.4060/3019)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Brussels, 1913, no.3019, repr.; Benesch, 1933-34, p.303, n.9 (reprinted 1970, p.281, n.11); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Puyvelde and Goldschmidt, 1937, no.12; Exh. Brussels, 1937-38,, no.80, repr. pl.lii (c.1630-35; compares Benesch 0242); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.231, repr. (c.1633-34; an oriental; follows Puyvelde, 1937, also comparing Benesch 0230 and 0238); Exh. Washington-Cambridge-Baltimore/Cleveland/San Francisco, 1954, no.49, repr. front cover; Exh. Rotterdam, 1954-55, no.49, repr. fig.23 (with erroneous inventory no.); Exh. Bruges, 1955, no.47; Exh. Brussels, 1962-63, no.165; Exh. Brussels, 1967, no.102; Exh. Brussels, 1967-68, no.344; Exh. Geneva, 1969-70, no.102, repr. p.53; Exh. Brussels, 1971, no.24; Exh. Paris-Leningrad-Moscow-Kiev, 1974, no.75, repr. fig.22 [Paris cat] fig.83 [USSR cat.]; Béguin, 1978, p.462; Rotterdam, 1988, p.48, under no.7, n.7; De Wilde, 1988, p.110, repr.; Exh. London, 1992, under no.28, n.2 (c.1639); Haarlem, 1997, p.296, under no.324 (c.1635); Hautekeete in De Wilde and Bussers, 2001, p.164, repr. (c.1632-33); Exh. Brussels, 2005, no.1, repr. (perhaps an actor; could be Pantalone from Commedia dell’arte); Schatborn, 2019, no.357, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Jean de Grez; presented with his collection by his widow to the present repository, 1913.

[1] See Exh. Brussels, 2005, no.1.

[2] See Werner Sumowski, Gemälde, II, 1983, nr. 587, repr..

First posted 5 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0232

Subject: A Violin-Player in a Tall Hat with an Old Woman, half-length, turned to right

Verso: see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared brown. Inscribed lower right in graphite: “Inv No:404” and on verso “1149” [the inventory no.]

99 x 99.

COMMENTS: The refinement of the hatching has suffered and become clouded due to iron-gall ink ‘burn’, the effects of which are irreversible and continuing. For this reason we also illustrate an older black and white image, so that the precision of Rembrandt’s parallel and cross-hatching can be better appreciated.

The style and subject matter is reminiscent of the many etchings of beggars, some playing violins, made by Rembrandt in around 1630-31.[1] But the technique of iron-gall ink on prepared paper points to the years c.1638-39 and the etching of a Peasant in a High Cap of 1639 (Bartsch 133; NH 178) shows that his interest in beggars was still alive at this time.[2] In style the drawing compares well with Benesch 0218 (the figures at upper centre) and Benesch 0202. Although there are only indirect links with Rembrandt’s documentary drawings, there have rightly never been any objections to the attribution.

Condition: spotted and stained; presumably cut from a larger sheet.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.1149; L.1609)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.153; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.144 (c.1630-31; compared to etchings Bartsch 164 and 138 [NH 45 and 77]); Berlin, 1930, I, p.235 (c.1630-33); Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-33); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.232, repr. (c.1633-34; same woman in Benesch 0233; follows Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, adding Bartsch 363 [NH 115]); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.34 (dates as Benesch, 1954); Exh. Dresden, 2004, under no.100 (compares Benesch 0202); Berlin, 2006, no.24, repr. (c.1638; violinist blind; compares etchings as Benesch, 1954 et al.; fragment; compares Benesch 0260 and etching Bartsch 133 [NH 178] of 1639); Schatborn, 2019, no.326, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); acquired by the present repository before 1900.

[1] See the comparisons made by previous writers recorded under Literature above.

[2] As pointed out by Bevers in Berlin, 2006, no.24. Beggars are again studied in Bartsch 163 (NH 177) of c.1641-42 and a few later etchings.

First posted 7 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0233

Subject: Bust of an Old Woman in a Flat Cap, turned to right

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared brown; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

48 x 46.

COMMENTS: A few lines at the top left suggest that the drawing is cut from a larger sheet. The figure, with her hat-brim upturned at the back, resembles several by Rembrandt: the woman in Benesch 0232, that near the top of Benesch 0218, another in Benesch 0677 and perhaps especially the woman in a corner of the etched Sheet of Studies, with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed (Bartsch 369; NH 177) of c.1641-42.

However, the drawing was not directly derived from these prototypes as the differences between them make clear.[1] Yet there are several aspects of the drawing that give grounds for concern regarding its attribution to Rembrandt. Throughout, the lines are fine and often correct, but also rather careful - not to say timid - and even-tempered, betraying little of Rembrandt’s customary verve at any moment. The quality of the description of the hat, with some 12 different lines wrestling to define the back flap, is uncharacteristic, and other features are equally unusual: the ‘P’-shaped touch on the cheek, the line under the chin with its odd zig-zags, the interruption at the corner and the near-vertical line cannot be parallelled elsewhere. The modelling is surprisingly flat and the drawing seems to belong more with works such as Benesch 0247-48 or Benesch 0329-31 rather than with better documented or more reliably attributed sheets. Nonetheless the drawing is not wholly without quality and is included here in the ‘attributed to Rembrandt’ section. Its status would be different if its analogies with drawings such as Benesch 194 verso, Benesch 0202, 0218-9, 0224 and 0230 (also drawn with a fine nib), were closer.

Condition: generally good, though a fragment; some iron-gall ink ‘burn’ and at the top of the cap the lines have run as if exposed to water or damp (this damage seems to be recent and an older photograph is included here for comparison); restored in 1980.[2]

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum (inv. TA 10275)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amsterdam, 1863, p.37, no.159 (“Rembrandt van Rijn. Zeven studiehoofden. Z. en R. krijt en roet”); Gram, 1863, p.340; Vosmaer, 1868, p.511 (“Sept feuilles avec croquis”), no.f; Gower, 1875, p.126; Vosmaer, 1877, p.596, no.e; Havard, 1879, p.98, repr. (Rembrandt’s mother depicted); Michel, 1893, p.591; Dutuit, 1885, p.92; Kleinmann, III, 2; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1224 (c.1635); Wurzbach, 1910, p.415; Anon., 1934 (Honderd teekeningen), no.80, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-33); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.233, repr. (c.1633-34; compares model in Benesch 0218 and 0232); Exh. Cologne-Bremen, 1955, no.72; Exh. Assen, 1956, no.28; Exh. Warsaw, 1956, no.27; Exh. Belgrade, 1960, no.60; Exh. Jerusalem, 1960, no.60; Exh. Budapest, 1962, no.60; Exh. Amsterdam, 1963, no.25d, repr.; Amsterdam, 1981, no.9, repr. (1635-42; compares Benesch 0218, 0677 and etching Bartsch 369, NH 177); Schatborn, 1982, p.252 (iron-gall ink group); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Willem Baartz; his sale, Rotterdam, Lamme, 6-8th June 1860, part of lot 100: “Rembrandt van Rijn. Six têtes d'études. Crayon noir, sanguine et bistre”, bt Lamme, f 7; bequeathed 14 December 1860 by Carel Joseph Fodor to the present repository.

[1] Perhaps the closest is the etching, but the configuration of the chin and many other details is crucially different.

[2] The damage is visible in the illustration in Amsterdam, 1981.

First posted 9 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0234

Subject: A Young Girl Chasing a Goose with a Study of a Boy

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower left in pen and brown ink by a later hand: “Rembrant v r ”

132 x 103. Watermark: Strasburg Lily (similar to Laurentius 461 of 1642, and to the mark on Benesch 0300 and Benesch 0407).

COMMENTS: The drawing has been strangely disregarded in recent years and has not recently found favour. Yet the quality overall is good and the depiction of the running girl supremely suggestive and well-balanced, providing an almost tangible sense of momentum. The high quality of this vignette is hard to parallel. The boy, with the trails of his hair described in pairs of lines, is close enough to the bust of a girl on the right of Benesch 0224 to suggest a date for the drawing. The running girl is delineated in fine pen-lines that evoke Benesch 0223 verso and the figure at the top left of Benesch 0391, while her face resembles that of the child at the lower left of Benesch 0226. The manner in which the fine parallel shading runs without interruption though her cheek and neck is highly Rembrandtesque (cf., for example, Benesch 0202, 0235, 0253, 0295 and 0321).

So why the doubts, prevarications and silence? Partly, perhaps, because the handling is occasionally less than fluid and slightly laboured, especially in the boy’s clothes and outstretched hand and arm. In fact the shading here is not fully coherent – usually one of Rembrandt’s strengths - with the direction of the light and the modelling occasionally left unclear. Also, the forms of the three hands depicted are unusual (more on this below). Finally, the squawking bird seems rather close to one drawn by Rembrandt much later, in Benesch 0960. The lines here and elsewhere seem rather even in tempo and pressure, lacking Rembrandt’s customary variety of touch. In addition, there are no good comparisons with any of Rembrandt’s documentary drawings, although there are moments of compatibility in Benesch 0500a (the parallel shading in the face of the figure on the right of both sheets).

Only one of these objections can be tackled – the form of the hands. For the running girl’s right hand, there is the right hand of the old man in Benesch 0185; and for the boy’s outstretched hand one might compare Joseph in the two pen studies for the same composition in the British Museum (Benesch 423 verso) and in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Not in Benesch; inv.95.GA.18), although the lines are there somewhat more fluent.

Trying to balance the arguments above is difficult, but in my opinion the drawing certainly merits inclusion in the ‘attributed to Rembrandt’ section of this catalogue. If some aspects of the drawing give rise to doubts, there are several analogies with Rembrandt’s own works and none of substance with the work of any of his pupils or followers.

The drawing was etched by Johann Daniel Laurentz in c.1756 in combination with Benesch 1152, to make a single genre scene. Both drawings were probably in Berlin or Vienna at that time.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1636-42.

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.1136)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Dutuit, 1885, p.80; Hofstede de Groot, 1902, no.150; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.150; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.142 (compares Pancake Woman etching of 1635, Bartsch 124, NH 144); Berlin, 1930, I, p.235, inv.1136 (as Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Wichmann, 1940, no.17 (c.1635); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.234, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0219); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.59 (c.1635); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1974, pp.126-7 (on Laurentz's reproductions); Not included or mentioned in Berlin, 2006; The Present Catalogue online, 2016 , no. Benesch 234 (Rembrandt?; c.1636-42); Berlin, 2018, no.136, repr. (c.1635-36; perhaps a copy or a pupil's work in the style of Benesch 0409); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Wilhelm Alexander Blenz (L.264); probably his sale, Berlin, June 1844; purchased by the present repository in August 1844 (see under L.264).

First posted 10 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0234A

Subject: A Woman in a Hat and Long Cloak Walking, to right, full-length,

seen from behind

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared brown. Ruled framing lines in graphite.

114 x 48. Watermark: none visible; chain lines vertical, distance apart uncertain.

COMMENTS: The iron-gall ink and brown prepared paper are typical of Rembrandt’s drawings of c.1638-39, but whether the drawing is really by him is difficult to decide because of its condition. The ink in the lines has spread to such a degree that Rembrandt’s original touch is nowhere to be seen in its original form. Yet there are links among the documentary drawings with Benesch 0423 (especially the verso). The hatching between the feet is replicated in Benesch 0778. The general style comes close to Benesch 0235 and Benesch 0300-301. For these reasons the present writer is inclined to accept the drawing, albeit not without some hesitation (and aware that this is likely to prove a minority view).

Condition: Wretchedly overrun by iron-gall ink ‘burn’.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: Private Collection, New York.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1964, p.112, repr. fig.7; Benesch, 1970, p.251, repr. fig.213; Benesch, II, 1973, no.234A, repr. fig.274 (c.1633; compares Benesch 0235, 0242, 0243 and 0246); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Leo Franklyn; Kate Schaeffer; by descent.

First posted 10 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0235

Subject: Study of the Actor Willem Ruyter as a Peasant, with a second study of his head and a bust-length study of a figure holding a jug

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with some white heightening, on paper prepared with brown wash; two ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (the outer one thicker). Inscribed at upper left, in graphite: “12”; at lower left, in pen brown ink (not by Rembrandt): “R” [interrupting the framing lines, which are presumably later] and lower right, with the museum’s Dyce inv. no.: “435”; inscribed verso, centre, in brown ink: “Old Masters” and upper left, in a nineteenth-century hand, in graphite (possibly the original Dyce inv. no.): “677”

176 x 141. Watermark: none; chain lines: 24h.

COMMENTS: The main figure and perhaps also the isolated head above depict the corpulent actor, Willem Barthelsz. Ruyter (1587-1639), on whom see Benesch 0120. As there noted, he was depicted by Rembrandt in various roles and is here presumably playing a peasant in a popular comic performance or play, although this cannot be documented. Another drawing showing him in comparable garb and drawn in a similar style is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (Not in Benesch; inv.RP-T-1996-6).

In technique and style the drawing is characteristic of Rembrandt’s work in iron-gall ink of c.1638-39. Among the documentary drawings, perhaps the figure at the top right of Benesch 0168 provides the closest comparison. The outlined figure holding a jug resembles the figure at the top left of Benesch 0301 and, to a lesser extent, the bust of a man at the top of the Sketch for Joseph Interpreting the Dreams of the Butler and Baker, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Not in Benesch; inv.95.GA.18).

The English watercolour painter John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) made an engraving of the drawing omitting the figure with the jug, published in his “Liber Studiorum” of 1838, pl.47.[1]

Condition: generally good, though with iron-gall ink burn, especially in the main figure’s lower left foot; the lower right corner detached and refastened.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: GB London, Victoria and Albert Museum (L.153b; inv. DYCE.435)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: London, 1874, no.435 (ascribed to Rembrandt; in style of Diepenbeck); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.972 (Rembrandt); Exh. London, 1921, no.101; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.767, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.235, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0218 and 0394); Reynolds (ed.), 1964, p.24; Albach, 1979, p.19, repr. pl.21; Amsterdam, 1985, under no,13, n.3; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-92.I, p.42, n.5, repr. fig.7; Schatborn, 1993, p.170 (same figure seen in Benesch 0141; done from life); Schatborn and De Winkel, 1996, pp.384 and 388, repr. fig.2; London, 2014, no.160, repr. p.211; Schatborn, 2019, no.337 and p.43, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE:[1] Rev. Alexander Dyce (1798–1869), London, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1869 (L. Suppl. 153b);.

[1] In London, 2014, it is surmised that, as Cotman (1782-1842) made an engraving of the drawing (see under Comments above), he may have owned it. But it does not have his mark “JSC” (L.580), which I identified as his on 20 February 2016, based on its appearance on a print in the British Museum, inv.1902,0514.985, inscribed by the engraver, William Camden Edwards [1777-1855] as a gift to Cotman.

First posted 24 February 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0236

Subject: A Leper Boy with a Peg Leg, Crutch and Rattle

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash; ruled framing line below (the others presumably trimmed away). Inscribed lower left by a later hand in pen and brown ink: “Rt.” [the ‘t’ in superscript]; inscribed verso in graphite, centre: “304” [or “364”?]

142 x 108. Watermark: Basel staff in crowned shield; chain lines: 25v

COMMENTS: The drawing has suffered, probably from immersion in water, so that the lines have run and lost their original precision. Yet even after making allowance for this, comparisons with Rembrandt’s own work reveal that this is more likely to be the work of a follower. Three documentary drawings by Rembrandt are in a comparable style, Benesch 0185, 0477 and 0636, yet all exhibit a greater variety of touch and rhythm. For example, superficially the Blind Old Man Guided by a Woman (Benesch 0185) of c.1645-48 has much in common with the present work, but on closer inspection the greater economy and variety of touch in Benesch 0185 becomes readily apparent. In the present drawing, a great deal of attention has been paid to the details with patches of fine hatching to enhance the modelling, but the result consistently falls far short of Rembrandt’s economy. In addition, the shadow of the figure thrown again the wall behind is entirely flat and in this also uncharacteristic of Rembrandt. A comparison with the other two documentary drawings mentioned above, which are some years earlier in date (respectively c.1640 and 1641), exposes similar disparities.

The qualities or stylistic characteristics enumerated above, including the flatness of the shadow, are commonly found in the work of Ferdinand Bol, including his drawing for his etching of the Holy Family in an Interior in the British Museum (Sumowski 95)[1] and his Joseph Interpreting the Prisoners' Dreams, now in Hamburg (Sumowski 101). On balance an attribution to him appears more probable. Compare also Benesch 0524 and 0554. In his most Rembrandtesque phase, Bol was capable of emulating his teacher’s style with remarkable fidelity (as in his etching related to the British Museum drawing).

The boy would not look out of place in Rembrandt’s Hundred Guilder Print of c.1648 (Bartsch 74; NH 239). Perhaps Bol and other pupils and followers of Rembrandt were inspired the latter’s sketches towards that composition, including Benesch 0185 mentioned above. However, one detail is so close to Rembrandt that the drawing is here retained pro tem in the 'Attributed to Rembrandt' section: the boy's nearer hand and arm, which is manifestly very close to that of the figure on the left of the documentary drawing, Benesch 0500a. However, one is again struck by the disparities in style between these drawings, and by the extraordinarily multifariousness of Rembrandt's own touch.

Condition: has suffered from damp and may even have been immersed in water; the pen-lines have run.

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?[2]; Rembrandt??

Date: c.1642-48

COLLECTION: GB Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum (inv. PD.41-1961)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1899, no.152; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.236, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0235); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Barron Grahame, 1878 (according to Poynter sale catalogue but not identifiable in Grahame sale, London, Christie's, 15 March 1878); Sir E.J. Poynter (L. 874); his sale, London, Sotheby's, 25 April, 1918, lot 277, repr. (with reference to Grahame provenance), bt. Agnew for C.B.O. Clarke, £110); by descent to Louis C.G. Clarke, by whom bequeathed to the present repository in 1960.

[1] Inv. 1836,0811.337; London, 2010 (online), no.1, repr..

[2] According to the Fitzwilliam Museum’s website the attribution was first suggested by Schatborn in 1996 (http://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/5032 [consulted 25/4/2016]), but I mooted this possibility and rejected the Rembrandt attribution in 1990.

First posted 27 Feb 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0237

Subject: An Elderly Jew in a Long Coat, leaning on a low ledge

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash and rubbed with the finger, touched with white, on paper prepared with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed top right in pen and brown ink by Léon Bonnat: “41”[the number in his album]

195 x 126.

COMMENTS: A fine and characteristic iron-gall ink figure-study by Rembrandt of the period c.1638-39. It belongs to a group of comparable works, including especially Benesch 0238-9 which also appear to depict members of the Jewish community in Amsterdam. Compare also Benesch 0217, with its similarly emphatic outlines in the lower drapery. Among the documentary drawings there are affinities with Benesch 0161 recto, Benesch 0168 and Benesch 0423 recto and verso.

The execution of the drawing was both bold – as seen in the stronger outlines in and below the drapery – and rapid, to judge both from the direct and unhesitant quality of the lines and from the ‘dry brush’ effect in the wash: the ink hardly had time to take to the paper. This characteristic can also be observed in the diagonal shading to the right.

Condition: generally good, with some iron-gall ink ‘burn’; restored in 2006.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv. RF 4674)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Dutuit, 1885, p.95; Michel, 1893, p.588; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.712; Bénédite and Demonts, 1921, no.4, repr.; Paris, 1933, no.1158 (1632-36; compared with Standing Man, in Rotterdam, inv. R17, Benesch 0238); Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.237, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0237; otherwise as Paris, 1933); Starcky, 1985, p.259 (c.1637-39, comparing Benesch 0161, recto); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.22, repr. (c.1636-38); Schatborn, 2006, no.14, repr.; Exh. Paris, 2006-7, no.17, repr. (c.1638; compares Benesch 0238 recto and quotes earlier writers); Exh. Grenoble, 2014, under no.75; Schatborn, 2019, no.347, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Léon Bonnat, by whom acquired before 1885 (L.1714 and with his number in pen and brown ink at top right: “41”, the number of his album); given by him to the present repository in 1919.

First posted 1 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0237a

Subject: Half-Length Sketch of an Elderly Man with a Beard, his head in profile to left

Verso: a few smudges and indecipherable scribbles (see also inscriptions).

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with brown wash and rubbed with the finger, on paper prepared brown; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower right in pen and brown ink: “Rembrant” and on verso, centre left, in pen and brown ink: "87"

162 x 117. Watermark: none; chain lines: 26[?]h.

COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0237, the present drawing seems to have been executed boldly and at times rapidly: not only does the ink not always ‘take’ on the paper, but the nib has frequently split owing to the pressure exerted. This also occurs – to a lesser extent - in the documentary drawing, Benesch 0168 recto, towards the lower right, and equally strong outlines appear in Benesch 0157, another documentary sheet. It has been pointed out that the form of the figure’s right arm is less than satisfactory, but this is insufficient reason to doubt the attribution.[1] In style the drawing usefully links drawings like those already mentioned with a few works in which Rembrandt’s outlines are inked in more heavily, as for example in Benesch 0300.

Condition: a damage centre left edge, repaired; otherwise good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: USA New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 52.214.2)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.237a, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0237); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.6, repr. pl.6 (c.1633-34; compares figure to extreme left of the Hundred Guilder Print, Bartsch 74; NH 239); Exh. Notre Dame 1980; Exh. New York, 1985; Exh. New York, 1995, no.67, repr. (Rembrandt?; c.1635-40); Schatborn, 2019, no.351, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Switzerland; Mr. and Mrs. Janos Scholz, by whom presented to the present repository, 1952.

[1] In Exh. New York, 1995, no.67.

First posted 1 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0238

Subject: A Standing Man in a Long Coat and Cap, full-length

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, rubbed with the finger, on paper prepared brown. Initialled lower left by Esdaile in pen and brown ink and inscribed by him verso: “1835 WE”

166 x 127. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: The drawing belongs to the group mentioned under Benesch 0237, a drawing to which it is especially close in style. Once again, the powerful, unhesitant strokes suggests it was rapidly done. Here, the pockets of vertical shading in zigzags – by the lower hand, between the calves, in the drapery fold towards the lower right – is a characteristically Rembrandtian feature, found in such drawings as Benesch 0197, 0217 and 0235.

The two horizontal lines of shadow below the figure seem to have been done at a later moment, using a warmer brown ink that was also employed in the shadows in the area of the man's crotch and to the right (compare this area with Benesch 0239).

Condition: a repaired patch upper right corner, a scuff upper left and a few spots and small stains.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. R 17)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.584; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1004; Heseltine Drawings, 1907, no.15, repr.; Demonts, 1920, p.10; Paris, 1933, p.21, under no.1158; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.238, repr. (c.1633-34); Drost, 1957, p.177; White, 1961, p.278; Exh. Tokyo-Kyoto, 1968-69, no.96, repr.; Rotterdam, 1969, p.21, repr. fig.8; Exh. Milan, 1970, no.5, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1970, p.68, under no.145; Exh. Paris, 1974, no.73, repr. fig.20; Exh. Moscow-Leningrad-Kiev, 1974, no.81, repr.; Bernhard, 1976, p.86; Starcky, 1985, p.259; Rotterdam, 1988, no.7, repr. (c.1632-36; groups with Benesch 0231, 0237 and 0239); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.135 (c.1639); Exh. Rotterdam, 2005-6, no. 13, repr.; Exh. Istanbul, 2006, no.13, repr.; Rotterdam 2009 (coll 2 kw 4); Exh. Rotterdam 2019-20.; Schatborn, 2019, no.348, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); purchased from his estate through S. Woodburn by William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 19; William Mayor (L.2799; not in his sale); J. P. Heseltine (L.1507; not in his sale); Franz Koenigs (L.1023a); acquired through D.G. van Beuningen by the Boijmans Museum Foundation, 1940, by which deposited permanently in the present repository.

First posted 3 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0238a

Subject: Head of a Bearded Man in a High Cap, profile to left

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink in paper prepared brown; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

80 x 65.

COMMENTS: The assessment of Hofstede de Groot in 1906, that the drawing is “nicht ganz zweifellos”, remains apposite. Among the documentary drawings, some support is provided by the head and facial profile of the figure in Benesch 0157. Yet this and other comparisons betray the comparative lack of zest in the present work, and the bust below the head is outlined in unusual, broken lines that seem further still from Rembrandt. Yet the fragment was clearly carefully preserved from a larger sheet and the head compares reasonably well with Benesch 0235 and 0237a; neither are there any convincing comparisons to be made among the works of Rembrandt’s pupils and followers. For these reasons the drawing is retained here in the ‘attributed to Rembrandt’ section.

Condition: a fragment, somewhat discoloured and stained, especially in; an added strip down the left side

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts (inv.D.563)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.559; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.238a, repr. (compares Benesch 0237-41); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jean Gigoux (L.1164), by whom bequeathed to the present repository in 1894.

First posted 4 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0239

Subject: A Standing Oriental, full-length, to right

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink and brown wash on paper prepared light brown.

171 x 102.

COMMENTS: Compare Benesch 0238 (qv). The pose of the figure here is almost identical, which is unusual for Rembrandt.The figure was long described as a rabbi, but the headdress seems more ‘oriental’ than specifically Jewish. A not dissimilar figure stands behind Simeon in Rembrandt’s etching of the Presentation in the Temple of c.1639 (Bartsch 49; NH 184).

Condition: generally good; some discolouration in upper corners (probably from old tabs) and some minor spots.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Grenoble, Musée des Beaux-Arts (L. Suppl., 1102b; inv. MG 729 [formerly MG D 239])

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Debelle, 1884, p.273, no.607; Bernard, 1891, p.198, no.630; Roman, 1892, p.110; Bernard, 1901, p.234, no.244; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.578 (early; depicts a rabbi); Beylie, 1909, repr. p.140; Bernard, 1911, p.231, no.288; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.239, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0238 and 0241); Exh. Rotterdam-Paris, 1974, under no.73, n.2; Exh. Grenoble, 1977, no.27, repr.; Grenoble, 1988, no.37, repr.; Rotterdam, 1988, under no.7; Exh. Brussels, 2005, under no.1, n.2; Exh. Paris, 2006-7, under no.18, repr.; Exh. Brussels-Amsterdam-Aachen, 2007-8, under no.60; Lagier, 201, p.68, repr. fig.2; Exh. Grenoble, 2014, no.75, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, no.349, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Léonce Mesnard, by whom given to the present repository in 1882.

First posted 5 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0239a

Subject: Bust of a Man in a Plumed Helmet, profile to left

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with later brown wash on paper prepared with brown wash. Inscribed lower left in pen and brown ink: “C.on Andréossy” and on verso, top centre, in graphite: ”Coln du Ct d.”

78 x 60. Watermark: none; chain lines: 27h.

COMMENTS: The brown wash was clearly added by a later hand, unfortunately rather crudely. Otherwise the drawing is in a similar bracket to Benesch 0238a: difficult to judge and yet not beyond doubt. Among the documentary drawings, perhaps the closest comparison is with the profile figure of Naomi in Benesch 0161 recto. The analogies are neither close enough to be convincing nor distant enough to reject the drawing completely. In comparison (and also with, say, Benesch 0231 or Benesch 0237a), the present drawing seems to lack both precision and energy, and the lines appear more slack and even. The shadow across the eyes is drawn with a zigzag line, which is unusual for Rembrandt, who seems always elsewhere to have used parallel shading at this point - or was the artist trying to describe some kind of fringe or other appurtenance?

Condition: not good; the brown wash is a later addition; faded and darkened (as is clear from the outer rim of the sheet, which must have been protected by a mount); probably cut from a larger sheet.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-39?

COLLECTION: private collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.239a, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0239 and 0241-42) [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Count Andréossy (his inscription, recto); probably A. Firmin-Didot; Curt Benedict, Paris; Matthiesen Gallery, London (1953); Walter J. Johnson; his sale, London, Christie’s 1 July, 1997, lot 209; his sale, Amsterdam, Christie’s, 10 November 1997, lot 116; his sale, Amsterdam, 9 November 1998, lot 125, repr..

First posted 6 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0240

Subject: Head of a Bearded Man with a Hat, profile to right

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper washed light brown, with some later work below in pen and a lighter brown ink; ruled framing lines in graphite.

72 x 53.

COMMENTS: The attribution to Rembrandt becomes plausible once one (a) has noted that the whole of the body is a later addition in a slightly lighter brown ink and (2) that it compares closely in style with Benesch 0226 and 0229 verso (cf. the articulation of the hair and beard, which is also like Benesch 0241) as well as with the head of the statue in the documentary sheet, Benesch 0423 recto. The hat is drawn in a tentative manner and resembles the light underdrawings that are often found in Rembrandt own work (as seen, for example, in the head of Willem Ruyter to the left of Benesch 0230, or the figure standing outside the door in Benesch 0406).

Condition: some spots and stains; some iron-gall ink ‘burn’.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt (elaborated by another hand)

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: NL Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Universiteit Leiden (inv.PK-T-AW-41)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Amsterdam, 1913, no.40; Exh. Leiden, 1916, II, no.10; Exh. The Hague, 1930, II, no.85; Exh. Amsterdam, 1930; Exh. Amsterdam, 1934, no.85; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.240, repr. (c.1633-34; groups with his nos 0231, 0237, 0238, 0239 and 0241); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: J. van Haecken (L.2516); Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); E.V. Utterson (L.909, lower right, semi-erased); C. Hofstede de Groot; his sale, Leipzig, Boerner, 4 November 1931, lot 174; A. Welcker, Amsterdam, from whom purchased by the present repository, 1957.

First posted 6 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0240a

Subject: Head of a Bearded Old Man (profile to left)

Verso: traces of an illegible sketch

Medium: Pen and brown ink, perhaps touched with white; traces of ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink on three sides.

59 x 53. Watermark: a fragment, containing a clover-like motif and two small circles.

COMMENTS: A potential question-mark might be attached to Rembrandt’s name because of the drawing’s resemblance to Benesch 0048. But it is closer still to Benesch 0027 and the similarities suggest not only that the drawing is by Rembrandt but that it is from the Leiden period, c.1629-30. Clearly a fragment of a larger sheet, as can be seen from the fragmentary study at the lower right (not, I think, the sitter’s shoulder) the drawing is laid down, though some lines show through from the verso. The curly hair at the back of the head seems to have been added by Rembrandt as an afterthought.

An anonymous etching, perhaps of a similar date, copies the head together with three heads from Benesch 0339 and the two from Benesch 0687. It reproduces a Rembrandt signature with the date 1637, but it is uncertain which, if any, of the heads it refers to and may not be entirely trustworthy (it was inscribed on the plate in reverse).[1].

Condition: a fragment, with a tear in the lower hair and a pinhole in the hair; ink lines are blurred in the hair and mouth; light struck.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1629-30

COLLECTION: private collection

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1960, p.163, repr. fig.11; Benesch, II, 1973, no.240A, repr. (c.1633-34); Schatborn, 2019, no.207, repr. (c.1629).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Hudson (L.2432); Jonathan Richardson, sen.; Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); E.V. Utterson (L.909); Eugene Bolten (dealer), London, 1957; R. Ederheimer (dealer), New York; Janos Scholz, New York, and by descent; sale, London, Christie’s 8 July 2008, lot 77, repr. (with catalogue entry by Schatborn, re-dating to Leiden period and comparing Benesch 0025 and 0027 and various etchings).

[1] See under Benesch 0339.

First posted 7 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0241

Subject: Bust and Three-Quarter-Length Study of a Man in a Tall Hat with his Arms Crossed

Verso: blank

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared brown.

185 x 124. Watermark: none; chain lines: 25h.

COMMENTS: The drawing, though typical of Rembrandt’s sketches in iron-gall ink made at the end of the 1630s, has received little attention from scholars. It has been suggested that the figure may have been intended as a spectator.[1] Such studies served as raw material for Rembrandt when creating his finished paintings and etchings, but no related figure is known. The arms of the figure are tightly folded and

Condition: traces of a blue mat or backing sheet adhere to the verso. The edge of the sheet is paler, where once clipped by a mount.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: USA Boston, Museum of Fine Arts (inv. M 15 1259)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.241, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0231, 0237-40); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.7, repr. pl.7 (as Benesch). [Not included in Exh. Boston Chicago, 2003-4]; Schatborn, 2019, no.358, repr. (c.1639).

[1] As noted in Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960.

First posted 12 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0241A (Benesch Addenda 3)

Subject: Stout Man in a High Fur Cap, profile to left, three-quarter length

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower left by a later hand: “Rembrandt”

130 x 115.

COMMENTS: Not seen since the 1950s, the drawing was a last-minute addition to the first edition of Benesch’s catalogue. The only known illustrations of it are extremely poor. Superficially, the style resembles Rembrandt’s in c.1629, with its somewhat eccentrically looping lines. Comparison in this respect may be made with Benesch 0014, 0022 (especially with the woman), 0027, 0035 (in particular in the sleeve), 0049, and 0195 recto. Yet none of these comparisons are entirely convincing on the basis of what can be discerned from Benesch’s illustration, which suggests an uncharacteristically blotchy effect in the shading; but this might be a poorly contrasted image. Until the drawing resurfaces its attribution is likely to remain problematic.

Condition: uncertain.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1629?

COLLECTION: F Paris, Private Collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, Addenda 3/no.241A, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0238-40); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Étienne Arago; his sale, Paris, 4 May, 1892, lots 196-7; sale, Paris, Galerie Charpentier, 24 March, 1955, lot 13A, repr..

First posted 12 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0242

Subject: A Young Man Walking to the Right, full-length, looking to front

Verso: see Inscriptions.

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with some brown wash (perhaps rubbed with the finger) on paper prepared with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso in graphite: “Woodburn” (cf. L.2584; similar to inscription on verso of Benesch 0246 and 0632).

165 x 114. Watermark: none; chain lines: 23-24h.

COMMENTS: The drawing belongs to the substantial group of figure studies in the same style and made with the same kind of ink and paper, prepared with brown wash. One of these, now in Munich (Benesch 243), shows the same model in a similar pose, although carrying his bundle over the other shoulder and with his right leg raised on a step.[1] As stated elsewhere but repeated here for clarification, the group of iron-gall ink studies, although often dated to the first half of the 1630s (see Literature below), should be assigned to the end of the decade. They include the documentary drawings Benesch 0157, 0161, 0168, 0423, 0442 and 0451. Benesch 0238 and 0246 recto are especially close in style to the present work.

The figure appears to be carrying a cap or similar item dangling from his right index finger. One aspect of Rembrandt's draughtsmanship here is worthy of particular remark: that he sometimes uses lines that do not directly describe the forms depicted, but capture what might be termed the 'lines of force', seen here in the perpendicular line in the nearer upper arm. Overall the artist's mastery is revealed by the bold and unhesitant execution throughout.

Condition: Generally good; a few nicks at edges (left centre; lower right); some stains apparently treated with white to disguise them; the iron-gall ink has run slightly and bitten into the paper.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1910,0212.181)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.585 (when in Salting collection); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1121; London, 1915, no.26, repr. pl.V (c.1630-35); Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-3); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.242, repr. fig.263/286 (c.1633-4; see n.1 above); Drost, 1957, p.165, repr. fig.162 (compares Elsheimer); Benesch, 1964, p.112, reprinted 1970, p.251; Munich, 1973, p.162, under no.1122 (compares Munich drawing mentioned above); Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-8, p.126, under no.86, n.1 (compared to 'Three Studies for a Disciple at Emmaus', Benesch 87, Lugt coll.); Sumowski, I, 1979, under no.167x; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.13, n.2 (second half of the 1630s); Starcky, 1985, p.261, repr. fig.15 (c.1638-40); Exh. London, 1992, BM Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no 28, repr.; Giltaij, 1995, p.98, (c.1633-4); London, 2010 (online), no.25, repr.; Schatborn, 2010, p.13, repr. fig.13; Schatborn, 2019, no.354, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Dimsdale (L.2426 verso); Samuel Woodburn (inscribed on verso, in graphite: 'Woodburn', cf. L.2584, similar to inscriptions, for example, on verso of Benesch 0246 and 0632);[2] bequeathed to the present repository by George Salting, 1910.

[1] As pointed out by Benesch, II, 1954, under no.242 (though the attribution of Benesch 0243 is not wholly straightforward), where many of the studies referred to are brought together. He also particularly compared the present sheet to his nos.0231 and 0238, respectively the 'Study of an Oriental' in Brussels and the 'Bearded old Man in a Cloak with Fringes' in Rotterdam (for which see Rotterdam, 1988, no.7, where dated c.1632-6).

[2] Woodburn supplied Dimsdale with most of his drawings but also bought back his collection after Dimsdale’s death in 1823. The order of ownership is therefore uncertain and the drawing may have passed through Woodburn’s hands twice. No description in any of the Woodburn sales precisely matches the present drawing, although many figure studies by Rembrandt are listed without detailed descriptions.

First posted 13 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0243

Subject: Young Man Walking Up Steps

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with brown wash, with later rework (see below).

108 x 68.

COMMENTS: The drawing is closely related to Benesch 0242 in the British Museum, but the present consensus is that it is not by Rembrandt.[1]

While clearly less developed and prepossessing than Benesch 0242, the draughtsman appears to be Rembrandt, although his work is obfuscated by later retouchings at the lower right, at the extreme side edges and in the figure’s nearer arm and legs. As well as the change in the position of the legs, in the more finished drawing the figure carries his bundle over the nearer shoulder while here it is over his left shoulder, so the present work is certainly not a copy. Rather, the British Museum work appears in comparison to be the ‘fair copy’ and may have been based on a less formal or worked-up study such as this. Parts of the drawing are stylistically inseparable from Benesch 0242, especially in the hair, with its scythe-shaped curls, and the slanting parallel hatching in the face. The articulation of the nearer knee is entirely characteristic of Rembrandt (again, cf. Benesch 0242) as is the facial expression and its configuration, and the vertical zizag shading in the hip. The modelling is somewhat undermined by the way the iron-gall ink lines have bled into the paper, and if in many parts the handling is loose, it is not sufficient reason to state that the drawing is a pupil’s effort made in emulation of his master. Indeed there are no clear parallels in style with the known (and reasonably securely attributed) works of Rembrandt’s pupils.[2]

It is unfortunate that the sheet is laid down as it is clear that the verso contains further sketches which might contribute to the overall assessment of the drawing. They show through to the recto, further undermining its optical coherence. The later retouchings provide a further distraction.

Condition: retouched by a later hand (see Comments above) and the iron-gall lines have bled into the paper.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt (retouched by a later hand)

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.2723; inv. 1618)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.437 (c.1635); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.243, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0242); Munich, 1973, no.1122; Exh. London, 1992, under no.28; London, 2010 (online), under no.25;[1] [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620).

[1] The drawing was omitted both from Exh. Munich, 1966-67 and from Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2002.

[2] Comparing the illustrations in Schatborn, 2010, p.14, figs 12-13, of Flinck’s drawing of a Musketeer (Benesch A33) next to Benesch 0242, very much helped in making this assessment.

First posted 14 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0244

Subject: A Man Seated in a Chair with his Head in his Hand

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, rubbed with the finger, on paper prepared with brown wash. Inscribed:

128 x 81. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: horizontal (distance apart uncertain)

COMMENTS: A characteristic iron-gall ink figure study from c.1638-39. Compare especially the zigzag shading down the right side with Benesch 0213 and 0237. This style of shading is seen again slightly later in the documentary drawing, Benesch 0500a of 1641. Other documentary drawings in iron-gall ink lend support to the attribution, such as Benesch 0161 recto and 0168 (the figure at the top right thereof).

The pose and expression seem to anticipate the seated young man left of centre in the Hundred Guilder Print of c.1648 (Bartsch 74; NH.239). There seems to be no particular reason for associating the pose with representations of "Melancholy", though often allegorised as a figure supporting his or her head in this way, most famously in Albrecht Dürer's engraving entitled "Melencolia I" [sic] of 1514.

Condition: trimmed a little irregularly; some iron-gall ink ‘burn’.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: A Vienna, Albertina (inv.8849)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1437; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.244, repr. (c.1633-34; groups with Ben 0213, 0231, 0237, 0238, 0242 and 0246 recto and verso); Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.13; Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, no.4, repr.; Albertina Collections Online http://sammlungenonline.albertinaat/? query=Inventarnummer=[8849]&showtype=record (accessed 19 March 2016; date c.1638); Schatborn, 2019, no.328, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Albert von Sachsen-Teschen (L.174)

First posted 19 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0245

Subject: Bust of a Man in Attitude of Prayer

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with pale brown wash. Inscribed lower right: “219” [crossed out] and “4989”

88 x 111. Chain lines horizontal but distance apart uncertain (sheet laid down).

COMMENTS: Benesch described the drawing as ‘an Amsterdam Jew praying in a pew of the synagogue’ but the trap-door style opening might point to another context, possibly from the theatre. The band around the head might be a crown and he seems to be emerging from a cellar.

At all events Benesch was right to compare Benesch 0244 (qv), which is in the same style and it connects with documentary drawings in the same way. This is a rapid sketch that sacrifices some quality in favour of speed, explaining why it has sometimes been rejected. There are no close or closer comparisons to be made with the work of Rembrandt's followers.

Condition: some general discolouration, minor stains, and iron-gall ink ‘burn’.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.2723; inv.1724)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.425 (c.1630-35); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.245, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0244); Munich, 1973, no.1364, repr. (forgery; attitude not one of Jewish prayer). [Not included in Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2.]; Schatborn, 2019, no.331, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: perhaps Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich.

First posted 20 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0246

Subject: A Pregnant Woman Standing, whole-length to right

Verso: Sketch of a Young Woman Standing, profile to left

Medium: Pen and brown iron-gall ink on paper prepared with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso lower left, in graphite: “Woodburn S.”; above this and written at a right angle to it, also in graphite: “1861 / £100” (see n.6 below).

165 x 111. Watermark: fragment only visible: flail within a chaplet, similar to Churchill 544 (1640) and Voorn 26 (1641); chain lines: 23/24h.

COMMENTS: From the same series of figure studies as Benesch 0242, q.v., where the dating c.1639 is explained. In theory the figure might be Saskia, but the comparison with her most fully documented portrait, Benesch 0427, is not persuasive on this point.[1]

The same watermark appears on at least three other drawings of the same period and executed in the same style: the Boy Walking with a Stick and the Cow in a Shed, both in the Rijksmuseum (the former not in Benesch, inv.1984:119; the latter Benesch 0393),[2] and the Three Studies of a Woman with a Child, now in the Morgan Library, New York (Benesch 0226).[3] The model in the centre of the New York drawing resembles the young woman on the verso of the present sheet[4] and these sketches must all have been made at about the same time.[5]

Condition: generally good, though with some old fox-marks; an old water stain down the left side; small loss at lower right corner; the iron-gall ink has run slightly and bitten into the paper.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1910,0212.184)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.58; (in Salting coll.); Exh. London, 1899, no.157; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1124; Exh. London, 1910, p.5; Exh. London, 1912, no.155; London, 1915, no.27, repr. pl.V (c.1635); Valentiner, 1923, repr. pl.116, fig.8; Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-3); Exh. London, 1938, no.27 (c.1635); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.246, repr. (c.1633-4; compares Benesch 0242); Exh. London, 1956, p.15, no.19; Drost, 1957, p.177, repr. fig.193 (compares Elsheimer); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, p.19, under no.20 (see n.2); Benesch, 1964, p.112 (reprinted 1970, p.251); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. pp.82-3; Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-8, p.126, under no.86 (relates to 'Studies for Disciple at Emmaus', Lugt coll., Benesch 87); Exh. Paris-Antwerp-London-New York, 1979-80, p.98, under no.67 (follows Benesch)ind 1915-31 27; Benesch 1973 246; Exh. London, 1992, no.29, repr. in colour (c.1639); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001-2, p.160, no.78, repr.; London, 2010 (online) no.26 (c.1639); Schatborn, 2019, nos 355 [recto] and 356 [verso], repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Perhaps Jan Danser Neyman sale, Paris, 8 July, 1776, part of lot 686: ‘Quatre autres études très-spirituellement touchées, de figures debout, dont une femme enceinte, & c.’, sold for 11.16 livres; Thomas Dimsdale (L.2426 on verso); Samuel Woodburn (see verso inscription); bequeathed by George Salting to the present repository, 1910.[6]

[1] Perhaps closer is the Saskia Seated by a Window, now in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch A3, but now generally accepted as by Rembrandt; inv. RP-T-1930-51). See Amsterdam, 1985, no.14, repr.

[2] See Amsterdam, 1985, nos.13 and 15 respectively.

[3] The mark also appears in Benescg 0518b.

[4] The connection first made in Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960 (see Lit. below).

[5] A drawing of a similar figure to that on the recto, but with the head in profile, was on the London and then Amsterdam art market, but does not seem to be by Rembrandt (136 x 59 mm [27h], in greenish dark brown ink; ex-Joshua Reynolds collection, L.2364), differing in technique, material and style.

[6] Woodburn supplied Dimsdale with most of his drawings but also bought back his collection after Dimsdale’s death in 1823. The order of ownership is therefore uncertain and the drawing may have passed through Woodburn’s hands twice. No description in any of the Woodburn sales precisely matches the present drawing, although many figure studies by Rembrandt are listed without detailed descriptions.

First posted 20 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0247

Subject: Standing Woman, profile to right, three-quarter length

Medium: Pen and brown ink; a line to right in red chalk. Inscribed lower left in pen and brown ink (partly cut away): “R” and verso (dimly visible through backing):

“CA” [?]

99 x 62. Top corners made up. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: Perhaps the stylistic contrast between this drawing and Benesch 0228, with which it was long associated (see Provenance), was a contributory factor in its rejection from Rembrandt’s oeuvre. The quality of the lines has been described with good reason as ‘ornamental’[1] (one might almost be reminded of Guercino) and they appear somewhat even and tentative; yet I am not convinced that there are sufficient reasons to reject the drawing completely. The analogies with Benesch 0246 verso are close, especially in the thinner, more tentative lines in the face and sleeve. The face and personality are here more solidly characterised. Cf. also the figure at the top left of Benesch 0391. The zigzag flourish in the lower right corner is also close to comparable touches in a number of generally-accepted drawings by Rembrandt, including Benesch 0099-0100 recto and the Seated Old Man (Not in Benesch; Paris, Fondation Custodia, inv.4502). Beneath this, and in some other parts (e.g. in the shoulders), many of the lines are breathtakingly delicate and thin. Overall the comparisons with Rembrandt's work, while not entirely persuasive, are nevertheless close - closer than with works by his pupils. In addition, the characterisation and stance, or presence, of the figure appear sufficiently convincing to admit the drawing into the category of works attributed to Rembrandt, albeit somewhat tentatively.

The figure represented may have been a housemaid.

Condition: top corners torn away and repaired.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. R 21)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.247, repr. (c.1633-34); Rotterdam, 1969, p.20, repr. fig.7; Rotterdam, 1988, no.183 (anonymous, as also Benesch 0248); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: John, Lord Northwick; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 1-4 November, 1920, lot 177 (with Benesch 0228, mounted together), bt Grace, £52; ; his repeat sale, London, Sotheby’s, 5-6 July, 1921, lot 100 (with Benesch 0228 as before), bt Muller, £44; Comte de Robiano; his sale, Amsterdam, Muller-Mensing, 15-16 June, 1926, lot 445 (with Benesch 0228 as before), repr. bt De Vries, f.1,500; acquired in 1926 by Franz Koenigs (L.1023a); ); presented to the present repository (the Boijmans Museum Foundation) by D.G. van Beuningen, 1940.

[1] Rotterdam, 1988, no.183.

First posted 21 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0248

Subject: Young Woman in Profile to Left, half-length

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

75 x 60.

COMMENTS: In style and type, the drawing resembles Benesch 0233, and like that drawing seems consistently more timid than any of Rembrandt’s documentary or generally accepted works. There are also links with Benesch 0247 and it may also depict a housemaid. While I cannot completely discount an attribution to Rembrandt - and the slightness of the sketch hampers any assessment, a comparison with, for example, Benesch 0246 verso does rather suggest that the drawing could be by a close follower.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638?

COLLECTION: D Ulm, Ulmer Museum (Strölin bequest)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.248, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0247); Rotterdam, 1988, under no.183 (not Rembrandt; same hand as Benesch 0247); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Alfred Strölin (Lausanne), and by descent.

First posted 22 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0249

Subject: Two Studies of a Woman Reading

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink on paper prepared with brown wash. Inscribed verso in pen and red-brown ink: “Lot 341” and in graphite: “Rembrandt”

173 x 151. Watermark: none; chain lines: 23-24h; circa 17-18 laid lines per cm.

COMMENTS: A drawing of extraordinary quality, verve and energy, the style is typical of Rembrandt’s drawings in iron-gall ink of the late 1630s. In the lower sketch, the woman seems almost to be reading out loud. The upper sketch, made second (as suggested by the way the chair stops short of the lower one), reveals the woman’s bulk and she seems to be caught in the act of turning a page.

Previous writers (see below) have pointed out numerous apposite comparisons, but among the documentary drawings one might compare Benesch 0157 and 0161. The woman depicted was probably a nursemaid tending Saskia, and may even be portrayed again in Benesch 0425-6. Decked out with a headscarf she may also appear in Benesch 0203, which is stylistically inseparable; Benesch 0194, however, probably shows a different nurse.[1] Compare also the chalk drawing, Benesch 0374 while, on the other hand, Benesch 0252 might have been derived from the present work.[2]

Condition: generally good, but with a blotch lower left and at the top of the lower woman’s head. Other spots, e.g. by the book in the lower sketch, caused by iron-gall ink 'burn'.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: USA New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (H.O. Havemeyer Collection; inv. 29.100.932)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Mayor, 1871, p.68, no. 365; Lippmann, 1890, I, 142; Valentiner, 1923, p.277 (a nurse of Saskia; same model as in Benesch 0425-6); Valentiner, 1930-1931, p.140, repr. fig.6; Benesch, 1935, p. 16; Ivins, 1942, repr. pl.33; New York, 1942-44, II, no.9, repr.fig.9 (and N.S., no.22); Benesch, 1947, no. 39, repr.; Münz, II, 1952, under no.175; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.249, repr.(c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0203, invalidating Valentiner 1923, and Benesch 0218, 0252); Regteren Altena, 1955.I, p. 120; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.56; Sumowski, 1956-57, p.255 (compares Benesch 0203); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.34, repr. (c.1635-39; same figure as in Benesch 0426, a nurse of Saskia’s, also in Benesch 0194 and 0374; small book recalls popular Elzevier publications of the period); Haverkamp Begemann, 1961, p. 24 (dates by comparison with Benesch 0194 - same nursemaid as well); Slive, 1965, I, no.147 (c.1636-39; repr. from Lippmann reproduction; same model in Benesch 0194, 0374 and 0425-6); Gillies, 1969, pp.153 and 155, repr. fig.10; Exh. New York, 1985 (but not in Mules, 1985); Exh. New York, 1995, no.57, repr. (c.1635-40; represents Saskia); Exh. New York, 1998 [Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection]; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.38, repr. (c.1635-40); Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.37, repr. (late 1630s); Exh. Brussels, 2005, p.36, n.8 (Benesch 0252 derived from this); Plomp, 2006.I, p.7, repr. fig.8; Exh. New York, 2007-8 [Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection]; Schatborn, 2019, no.324, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE:[3] William Mayor (d.1874 London; L.2799; catalogue, 1871, no.372; 1875, no.647); Sir Francis Seymour Haden (1818–1910; L.1227); his sale, London, Sotheby's, 15-19 June, 1891, lot 582 (bt Durand-Ruel, £26); Galerie Durand-Ruel; H. O. Havemeyer; bequeathed to the present repository with the Havemeyer collection by his widow, Louisine W. Havemeyer, 1929.

[1] Pace Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961 (see Literature).

[2] See Exh. Brussels, 2005, p.36, n.8. Attempts to identify the woman as Saskia (as in Exh. New York, 1998) do not convince.

[3] A Jonathan Richardson, senior, provenance is usually cited (though not in Exh. Vienna, 2004) but there is no sign of his collector’s mark, nor a mention of this provenance in the Mayor or Seymour Haden sale catalogues.

First posted 24 March 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0250

Subject: Saskia at the Open Window

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash, and perhaps some white bodycolour, on paper prepared with brown wash; remnants of ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. The lowest, horizontal line is a later addition; four similar lines above this have been covered over. Inscribed verso by Esdaile in pen and brown ink, lower left: “1835 WE from the coll of Marquis Vinde”; and by another hand in graphite, top left: “5 xyz”.

236 x 178. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: The drawing is an outstanding study among Rembrandt’s iron-gall ink sketches of c.1638-39. The directness and completeness of the characterisation of his wife at a window, and of the atmosphere within, has rarely been parallelled, even by Rembrandt himself.[1] The identification of his wife as the portrayed seems reasonably secure on the basis of the only documented portrait of Saskia in Benesch 0427. Here she wears a domestic cap and a wrinkle preventing head-band (cf. Benesch 0275) and fully supports her head in her left hand.[2] Her eyes are depicted unusually by Rembrandt: within the eyelids, the irises are drawn as tiny circles and the pupils with precise dots of the pen, which we find elsewhere, but in this instance he fills the irises with a small dab of wash. The resulting gaze is mesmerising. Behind her the percolation of light allows into the interior affords a tantalising glimpse inside, where there seems to be an arched balustrade or landing supported on a column.[3]

The attribution hardly requires justification, but among the documentary drawings one could particularly point to the Portrait of Maria Trip (Benesch 0442). Parts of the drawing, perhaps especially the sill below the window, resemble the penmanship in the lower part of the drawing of a Dog (Benesch 0455).

In a general sense, the composition anticipates the 1651 painting of a Girl at a Window, now in Stockholm (Bredius 377; Corpus, VI, no.220).

The paper may have come from a ledger book, to judge by the now obscured ruled lines below (apart from the lowest one, which appears to be a later addition). No other Rembrandt drawings of this period have ledger lines, although they may have been cut away from other sheets.

Condition: generally good, with some minor spots and stains, but light struck.[4]

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. R 131 [PK] on permanent loan from the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 1940).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Bénard, 1810, no.1963; Exh. London, 1835, no.74 (from the collection of M. Vindé); Lippmann, I, 1892, no.185; Michel, 1893, p.472, repr. and p.583; Von Seidlitz, 1894, p.122; Exh. London, 1899, lot 129; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1016 (c.1635); Heseltine, 1907, no.69; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.403; Tatlock, 1922, p.50, repr. pl.II, fig.D (late; “the quill has become a magic instrument, whose least line thrills and delights, and whose translation of the outer world beautified and spiritualised in the brain, is always and before all a great design. I have seen few things of this kind more perfect than this little masterpiece”); Exh. London, 1929, no.639 (1930 cat., p.214, repr. pl. cix); Hell, 1930, p.104, n.1; Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.274, repr.; Hind, 1932, p.50; Freeman, 1933, no.8, repr.; Exh. Rotterdam, 1934, no.83, repr. fig.xxvi; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.676, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.16; Verslag Stichting Museum Boijmans, 1939-41, p.7, repr.; Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.66, repr. fig.xliv; Exh. Rotterdam, 1938, no.314, repr. fig.247; Rosenberg, 1948, I, p.148, repr. II, fig.200; Exh. Dijon, 1950, no.81; Exh. Rotterdam, 1952, no.41; Exh. Paris, 1952, no.45, repr. fig.15; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.250, repr. (c.1633-34; compares Benesch 0229 for sitter, and Benesch 0249 and 0253; anticipates Benesch 0411); Baard, 1956, no.36; Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.76, repr. fig.35; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.23, repr. fig.14; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.12; Pigler, 1956, II, p.514; Haverkamp Begemann, 1957, no.20, repr.; Exh. Washington-New York-Minneapolis-Boston-Cleveland-Chicago, 1958-59, no.58, repr.; Ebbinge-Wubben, 1960, p.10, repr. fig.8; Exh. Brussels-Hamburg, 1961, no.48, repr. fig.xxi; Haverkamp Begemann, 1961, p.24 (points out Paignon-Dijonval provenance); Benesch, 1964, p.112 (Saskia shown almost as a domestic servant); Rosenberg, 1964, p.240, repr. fig.200; Descargues, 1965, p.110, repr.; Slive, 1965, I. no.198 (as Benesch, 1954; repr. the Lippmann facsimile); Exh. Prague, 1966, no.87, repr.; Arpino, 1969, p.134, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.35, repr.; Rotterdam, 1969, p.21, repr. pl.10 and frontis.; Benesch, 1970, p.251; Exh. Paris, 1970, p.68, under no.151; Haverkamp Begemann, 1971.I, p.88; Exh. Paris, 1974, no.74, repr. fig.23 and on cover; Exh. Leningrad-Moscow-Kiev, 1974, no.82, repr.; Fryszman, 1974, p.358; Bernhard, 1976, p.81; Haak, 1976, pp.20 and 26, repr. fig.11; Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-78, under no.87; Pignatti, 1981, p.223; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.14, n.2 (c.1639); Rotterdam, 1988, no.8, repr.; Luijten and Meij, 1990, no.33, repr.; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92.I, p.17, repr. fig.8; Exhibition, New York-Fort Worth-Cleveland, 1990–91, no.33, repr. (pose comparable to that in Benesch 0427; compares Benesch 0253, perhaps made at same sitting); Schatborn, 1993, p.157 (drawn from life); Ter Molen, 1993, pp.106-7, repr.; Exh. Istanbul, 2005, no.11, repr.; Exh. Rotterdam, 2005-6, no.11; Exh. Lisbon, 2008-9 (no cat.); Slive 2009, p.??; The Present Catalogue online, 2016; Schatborn, 2019, no.301, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: G. Paignon-Dijonval (see Bénard, 1810, no.1963); by descent to his grandson, C.G. Vicomte Morel de Vindé (see verso inscription and Exh. London, 1935), by whom sold to Samuel Woodburn (dealer), 1815; Thomas Dimsdale (L.2426); Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 June 1840, lot 89; C.S. Bale (L.640);his sale, London, Christie’s 1 June, 1841, lot 2420; J.P. Heseltine (L.1507); M.J. Bonn; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 15 February 1922, lot 46, repr.; H.E. ten Cate (L.533b); F. Lugt, acquired in 1930; acquired 1930 by Franz Koenigs (L.1023a); acquited 1940 by D.G. van Beuningen by whom given to the Stichting Museum Boijmans, 1940.

[1] I transcribe under Further Literature the praise of the erstwhile editor of the Burlington Magazine, R.R. Tatlock (Tatlock, 1922, p.50).

[2] I do not believe that Rembrandt was here concerned with portraying Melancholia, often depicted allegorically supporting her head in this way (see under Benesch 0244).

[3] The window resembles the one seen in Benesch 1161, and therefore could be a window of the present Rembrandthuis Museum, which Rembrandt acquired on 5 January 1639 with completion on 1st May (but would have viewed with Saskia before; see Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, document 1639/1). The interior resembles the entrance hall, which after the most recent restoration has a wooden landing at the back which makes less architectural sense than the arched arrangement seen in the drawing.

[4] This must be one of Rembrandt’s most frequently exhibited drawings (see Literature above) and the result is clear. It is to be hoped that in future the relevant curators will continue the present trend of being less eager to exhibit and lend this magnificent drawing.

[5] See Bénard, 1810, no.1963.

First posted 27 March 2016.

 

Benesch 0251

Subject: Sketch of a Woman in Profile, half-length, to right

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed on verso of backing sheet, bottom centre: “Rembrandt”

93 x 61.

COMMENTS: The drawing is not without quality despite being slight, and yet it lacks clear stylistic links with Rembrandt’s secure drawings, whether or not documentary ones. The profile is highly exploratory: the cheek-bone may even have begun as a first attempt at the nasal profile; the eye may have started as the left rather than the right one; the very fine lines in the scalp and on the temple are close to Rembrandt’s own approach to setting out his forms. On the other hand the outlines are broken up much more frequently than usual in Rembrandt’s drawings: the short outline from the neck to the tip of the chin breaks several times, for example. The shading in the band around the midriff fails to communicate much in terms of light and modelling, and the cutting of the arm above the elbow seems uncharacteristically arbitrary. When sold in 2004 the drawing was designated as ‘school of Rembrandt’ but with arguments suggesting that ‘attributed to Rembrandt’ might be more apposite. As someone who was consulted by the auction room at the time I remain in agreement with that judgment.

Benesch 0342 depicts a similar model – perhaps the same domestic.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638

COLLECTION: Private Collection

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.251, repr. (c.1634; compares Benesch 0252); Exh. Yokohama-Fukuoka-Kyoto, no. 40, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam-Dordrecht, 1994-95, p. 27, repr. fig. 30 (school of Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Robert Udny (L.2248: N.B. Benesch, following the Warwick sale catalogue, gave the provenance as R. Cosway, but did not mention Udny, so this was probably a simple confusion – there is no sign of Cosway’s mark); Earl of Warwick (L.2600); his sale, London, Sotheby's, 17 June, 1936, lot 99 (as Rembrandt, together with another, a drawing of a sailing boat on a river), bt Bursey, £11-10s; W. Mertens, Leipzig; Saam and Lily Nijstad (Unicorno Collection inv.N 266); their sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 19 May, 2004, lot 72 (sold for EUR 7,701).

First posted 7 April 2016

 

Benesch 0252

Subject: Young Woman Reading, profile to right

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

100 x 95.

COMMENTS: The structure of the face, with the pronounced cheekbone and broken outlines (e.g. in the join between neck and chin), has analogies with Benesch 0251; the figure resembles the upper study in Benesch 0249, down to the rucked-up sleeve by the nearer elbow. Yet the style is here somewhat harsher and cannot be paralleled among Rembrandt’s documentary drawings. The small and distinct pockets of hatching are a feature of the composition studies, Benesch 0061-62, now ascribed to Flinck, and he might be a candidate for this drawing as well.[1] The style points to the second half of the 1630s, although the early date proposed by Hofstede de Groot is understandable.[2]

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1635-40?

COLLECTION: D Frankfurt, Staedel (inv.13073)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1513 (c.1630; Exh. Frankfurt, 1926, no.352; Stift und Feder, 1927, no.90; Benesch, 1935, pp.16 and 18; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.252, repr. (c.1634; from nature and inspired etching Bartsch 345, NH 137); Exh. Brussels, 2005, p.36, n.8 (perhaps derived from Benesch 0249); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Dr Max Strauss, Vienna; his sale, Vienna, Miethke, 2 May and following days, 1906, lot 113.

[1] Cf. Schatborn, 2010, for comparative material by Flinck.

[2] Cf., for example, Benesch 0035.

First posted 8 April 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0253

Subject: Woman (Saskia?) Seated at a Window, her right elbow on the sill

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink and brown wash, perhaps also rubbed with the finger, on paper prepared with light brown wash.... Inscribed: lower left in pen and brown ink by William Esdaile with his monogram: “WE” [partly erased]; on the verso, a brown ink brushstroke and inscribed lower centre, in pen and brown ink, in an eighteenth-century hand: “a.42”;[1] lower right, by Esdaile, in pen and brown ink: “1835 WE” [partly cut away];

170 x 125. Watermark: none; chain lines: 24h.

COMMENTS: A fine and characteristic example of Rembrandt’s figure studies of c.1638-39 in iron-gall ink. The disposition of the pose makes the composition seem to flow diagonally like a spiral, through the sitter’s arms, with particular attention paid to the hands.While the contraposts of the arms resembles the slightly earlier drawing of Saskia at a Window, now in Budapest (Benesch A0009, but now generally accepted as by Rembrandt), the style is closer to the documentary drawings Benesch 0157, 0161 recto, 0168 and 0423 recto and verso, as well as to drawings such as Benesch 0246 recto.

Whether the sitter was Saskia, as has often been surmised, is uncertain, but a comparison with Benesch 0250 argues somewhat in favour of the idea. The Rijksmuseum’s drawing of Saskia Sitting by a Window (Benesch A003) may have been made at around the same time, to judge – not least – by the description of the window, and the hands. Yet the woman here looks older and perhaps could be a nurse in the household.

Two copies of the drawing by Hermione Hammond (1910-2005) are also at the Fondation Custodia in Paris.[3]

Condition: perhaps trimmed (see lines cut off at top left); some iron-gall ink ‘burn’ means that many lines have spread in thickness and some shadows are exaggerated.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: Paris, Fondation Custodia, Collection F. Lugt (inv.288)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1877-78, no.1194; Locker-Lampson, 1886, p.226; Lugt, 1921, p.305, under no.1692; Exh. Amsterdam, 1921-22 (no catalogue); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.677, repr. (c.1636); Exh. London, 1929, no.593 (repr. Commemorative Catalogue, 1930, no.593 and Illustrated Souvenir, repr. fig.146); Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.251 (c.1640); Van der Eecken, 1937, p.22, repr.; Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.67, repr. pl.xliv; Exh. Rotterdam, 1938, no.439, repr. fig.249; Benesch, 1947, no.40, repr. (c.1634); Exh. Haarlem, 1951, no.156; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.253, repr. (c.1634; relates to Benesch 0218 and for the identification of Saskia, with Benesch 0250); Exh. Paris, 1957 (no catalogue); Moskowitz, 1962, no.573, repr. (c.1634-35); Benesch, 1964, p.112 (c.1633-34; reprinted 1970, p.251); Exh. Paris, 1970, no.151; Exh. New York-Boston-Chicago, 1972-73, no.83, repr. (c.1634); Exh. Amsterdam, 1973, no.83, repr. pl.xviii (c.1634); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1976, p.363, repr. fig.16 (c.1634); Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-78, no.87, repr. pl.72 (and in colour on cover; c.1634); Fryszman, 1978, p.345; Ozaki, 1984, p.90, repr. fig.4; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.14, n.2; Starcky, 1985, p.264, n.24 (c.1638-39); Rotterdam, 1988, under no.8, n.2 (c.1633-36); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.16 (c.1635-38); Exh. New York-Fort Worth-Cleveland, 1990-91, under no.33, repr. fig.b (c.1633-36); Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997-98, p.xxiii and no.6, repr. p.xiii (c.1638-39); Exh. Berlin, 1999, under no.37 (c.1638-39); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, under no.76, repr. fig.119 (c.1638); Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, p.39, n.76; Ozaki, 2004, p.67, repr. fig.6 (c.1634); Berlin, 2006, under no.14, n.4, and under no.20 (c.1638-39); Exh. Braunschweig, 2006, under no.2; Exh. Paris, 2006-07 (no catalogue); Paris, 2010, no.7, repr. (c.1638); Schatborn, 2019, no.310, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); Samuel Woodburn (dealer), 1835; William Esdaile (L.2617 and Supplement); his sale, London, Christie’s 17 June, 1840, lot 14, bt Geddes, £1-3s-0d; probably Andrew James;[2] Frederick Locker-Lampson (see L.1692 and Supplement); Earl of Camperdown et al. sale, London, Christie’s, 11 April, 1919, lot 71, bt Colnaghi and Obach, £399; Frits Lugt (L.1028), purchased 19 May 1919.

[1] Schatborn, in Paris, 2010, no.7, points out that a similar inscription occurs on Benesch 0404.

[2] A note in the copy of the Esdaile sale catalogue in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum states that “Nearly the whole of the drawings by Rembrandt purchased by Mr Geddes in this sale were for his relative Mr Andrew James”.

[3] Inv. 1972-T.17 and T.18.

First posted 10 April 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0254

Subject: Seated Woman Wearing a Long Veil, turning to right

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash, heightened with white, on papetr rpepared with brown wash. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, top right: “38” [Bonnat’s album number] and on verso: “Hunt 1826”

163 x 114.

COMMENTS: As previously remarked, it seems likely that the sitter was Saskia (cf. Benesch 0250, 0255 and 0395). The rather loose drawing in the left sleeve resembles the penwork in Benesch 0229 and 0255, while the wash is similarly applied in Benesch 0339 and, in the use of the tip of the brush to draw, to the slightly earlier documentary drawing of c.1635, Benesch 0292, which might suggest a date nearer 1638, when Rembrandt seems to have started using iron-gall ink, than 1639, when he seems to have desisted.

Condition: good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv. RF 4678; MS Inventory vol. 20, p.265).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.727; Paris, 1933, no.1172 (c.1637-40); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, 2, 1954/73, no.254, repr. (c.1634; depicts Saskia, comparing Benesch 0253; cf. also Benesch 0255); Exh. Paris, 1988-1989, no.16, repr. (c.1635-38); Schatborn, 2006, no.11, repr. (late 1630s); Exh. Paris, 2006, no.13, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, no.311, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Hunt(?), 1826 (inscribed with this name, verso); E. V. Utterson (L.909); perhaps his sale, London, 24 February, 1857, part of lot 540; Léon Bonnat, acquired before 1885 (L.1714; his album number “38” top right); presented by him to the present repository, 1919. (L.1886).

First posted 11 April 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0255

Subject: Saskia in Bed

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink and brown wash, heightened with white, on paper prepared with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

150 x 138.

COMMENTS: A fine and characteristic iron-gall-ink study by Rembrandt of c.1638-39. Only a few of Rembrandt’s drawings of Saskia in bed are executed in the same ink.[1] The style is here close to various documentary drawings in iron-gall ink, such as Benesch 0157, 0161, 0168 and, for the wash especially, Benesch 0423 recto and 0442. The strength of the wash lines compares closely with some drawings that have recently been doubted, such as Benesch 0283-4.

The heavy bandaging around the chin, as though Saskia were suffering from toothache, is unusual, otherwise encountered only in Benesch 0255A.

Condition: good; perhaps trimmed a little, to judge from the lines reaching the edges of the sheet.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: D Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett (L.1647; inv. C 1326)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Heucher, 1738, p.116 (Bureau XV); Franke, 1865, port.IV, no.16/1; Hofstede de Groot, 1890, no.62; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.255; Woermann, 1896-98, viii, p.90, no.295, repr. pl.vi; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, p.16, no.62; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.687, repr. (compares Benesch 0229 and 0250); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.255, repr. (c.1634; follows Valentiner, 1934; early drawing of Saskia in Bed; compares Benesch 0254 and 0255A; lists other drawings of Sakia in bed); Exh. Dresden, 1960, no.8; Scheidig, 1962, p.41, repr. pl.25; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, p.123, no.34; Dittrich, 1969, p.106, repr.; Exh. Zurich, Kunstschätze aus Dresden, 1971; Haak, 1974, no.30; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.11, repr. fig.11b; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92, p.80, n.3; Exh. Dresden-Vienna, 1997-98, no.92; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, p.127, repr. fig.108 (compares Benesch 0283); Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.103, repr.; Exh. Paris, 2006, no.66, repr.; Exh. Dresden, 2004.I, p. 104; Schatborn, 2019, no.308, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Gottfried Wagner (d.1725); acquired by the present repository in 1728.

[1] See Benesch 0255A (not certainly in bed, but dressed for bed), 0256 (attribution uncertain), 0404, 0413 (attribution uncertain). Other drawings of Saskia in bed but in bistre ink (unless otherwise stated) are Benesch 0280a (red chalk), 0280c (red chalk), 0281, 0281A, 0282, 0283, 0285, 0286, 0287, 0288, 0289, 0290, 0303, 0360; 0380 (school work) 0379 (red chalk) 0405; 0410 (school work) and 0425-6.

First posted 12 April 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0255A

Subject: Bust of a Woman (Saskia?), profile to right

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash, heightened with white. All the untouched parts of the sheet gone over in white by a later hand.

59 x 59.

COMMENTS: The identification of the figure as Saskia depends on a comparison with Benesch 0255. On that basis it seems probable but far from certain.

Although trimmed from a larger sheet, there are many superficial reasons for doubting the authenticity of the drawing: the vertical hatching at the left, though similar to Rembrandt’s shading on occasion, is somewhat uncharacteristic in that each line is separate, rather than being joined together as a zigzag (though see further below); the caricatured characterisation departs from Rembrandt’s usual conventions; and the modelling, perhaps especially of the head, seems flat rather than three-dimensional.

However, as is (I hope) visible in the enlarged detail image, the drawing has been greatly tampered with by a restorer: although the original artist used some white bodycolour in the collar, more white has been flatly applied to most of the rest of the surface of the sheet, the original colour of which is pale brownish yellow. This extra white is visible reaching to within a millimetre of every pen line; all the spaces between the lines have been painstakingly filled with white, perhaps in the mistaken belief that the brown tone – typical of Rembrandt’s iron-gall ink drawings - was caused by fading.[1]

After attempting to ‘think away’ these additions, which have not been noted before and which cause an optical flattening of the image, problems remain, but they are less severe. The draughtsman certainly worked swiftly and confidently and there is no sense of hesitation. The pen style in the head in close enough to Benesch 0254 to make the attribution to Rembrandt sustainable; the nearer hand may be compared with the lower hand in Benesch 0253, and the knuckles of the left hand - all that is visible – resemble the upper hand of the figure holding a jar in Benesch 0235; the vertical shading and some penwork in the back of the collar marries well with Benesch 0198, while the wash resembles Benesch 0442 and 0757.

In my view these observations render an attribution to Rembrandt rather likely; but for the time being at least, a question mark of caution is retained.

Condition: Cut from a larger sheet; see further under medium and in the main comments section.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: R Moscow, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (inv.4715).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Massalov, 1917, no.113; Benesch, 1964, p.112, repr. fig.8 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.251, repr, fig.4; 1633-34; represents Saskia); Levitin, 1966, p.21; Exh. Moscow, 1969, p.26, repr.; Benesch, II, 1973, no.255A, repr. fig.301 (c.1633-34; shows Saskia; compares Benesch 0255); Neveshnia, 1974, no.167; Exh. Tokyo-Kyoto-Fukuoka-Sapporo, 1990-91, no.93; Moscow, 1991, no.134; Exh. Moscow, 1991, no.122; Sadkov, 1998, p.161; Moscow, 2001, no.338, repr. (as Benesch, 1964); Moscow, 2010, no.323, repr. (doubted by Schatborn, orally, and dated to late 1680s); ([Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: J.C. Robinson (L.1433); Nikolay Semyonovich Mosolov (1847 – 1914; his no.113); bequeathed by him to the Rumyantsev Museum, Moscow; transferred in 1924 to the present repository.

[1] Initially I had thought that the ink lines had spread into the paper; but that the white was applied later gradually became very clear.

First posted 14 April 2016.

 

Benesch 0256

Subject: Saskia Sitting Up in Bed

Medium: Pen and brown ink; extensively reworked by a later hand. Inscribed lower left in dark brown ink: “no 5122”. Watermark: an indecipherable fragment; chain lines 26v.

131 x 165.

COMMENTS: The drawing has been so extensively reworked, mostly in a darker brown ink than the original, that it is difficult to judge at all.[1] The ‘original’ work is all within the head and torso of the figure, although the stroke completing the crown of the head is later, as also some retouching in the figure’s right shoulder and elsewhere. All the rest of the drawing – the extensive hatching, the indications of sheets and pillows – is later, and in a dark ink that is matched by the ink of the number written at the lower left. Perhaps the additions were made by an overenthusiastic curator in the later eighteenth century.

The original parts, especially in the area by the breast, come close in style to Benesch 0229, and on this basis the drawing is retained here as ‘not impossibly by Rembrandt', with two question-marks, though I believe it unikely that he was himself involved in creating it. The draftsman may have been inspired by Benesch 0282.

Condition: greatly reworked – see under Comments above.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt??

Date: c.1638-39?

COLLECTION: D Munich, Graphische Sammlung (stamped with L.620).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Munich, 1884-93, repr. no.47b; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.417 (c.1636; compares etching Bartsch 369; NH 177); Lippmann, IV, no.3; Saxl, 1908, p.534; Becker, 1923, I, 28; Benesch, 1925.I, p.31; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Rosenberg, 1948, p.147; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.256, repr. (c.1634; notes clumsy rework; compares Benesch 0250); Slive, 1965, II, p.441; Exh. Munich, 1966-67, no.17; Munich, 1973, no.1098, repr. pl.308; Schatborn, 1978, p.134; Baudiquey, 1984, p.142; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, under no.41; Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.18, repr (Rembrandt School); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Mannheim and Munich.

[1] In Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, it is suggested that there may have been two quite separate campaigns of rework.

First posted 15 April 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0257

Subject: Bearded Old Man (Portrait of Burchard Grossmann?)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey-brown wash, at times perhaps mixed with some white bodycolour. Inscribed top right with an indecipherable paraphe or number (“98”?), and on the currently adjacent page of the album, by Rembrandt, in pen and brown ink: “Een vroom gemoet / Acht eer voor goet / Rembrandt / Amsterdam. 1634.” [underlined] (“a pious mind esteems honour above wealth”). On the verso of the drawing, inscribed with a few lines of poetry in Latin, French and Italian by Paulus Frehernius Noricus and dated: “6 May A.1630”

87 x 72 (somewhat irregularly trimmed below). Watermark: none; chain lines: horizontal, perhaps 20h (not clearly visible).

COMMENTS: A documentary drawing as it is accompanied by Rembrandt’s signature and the date 1634 in an album amicorum compiled by Burchard Grossmann the Younger (1575-1637). Whether the image is a portrait of the 59-year-old Grossmann, though probable, is no more than a surmise, as there is no known portrait with which to compare it. He is in earlier Rembrandt literature referred to as a jurist from Weimar whose function was Steward of Haberstein.[1]

Grossmann compiled two albums, the second and smaller of which evolved into a kind of travel album, and this is the one that concerns us.[2] It consists of 144 folios, with around 289 contributions dated between 1624 and 1635, from individuals in many German and Dutch towns. Among the entries there are 25 drawings, 25 coats-of-arms and an engraved plan.

He visited the Dutch Republic three times, in 1629 (Leiden), 1630 (The Hague) and, for a longer journey, in 1634, which took him from Hamburg to Amsterdam, Leiden, The Hague and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The more precisely dated entries in the album that were made in Amsterdam are from between 17th and 21st June 1634, and Rembrandt’s contribution must have been made at around the same time. Rembrandt’s mentor and associate, Hendrick Uylenburgh, contributed to the album on 18th June 1634, with the motto: “Middelmaet hout staet” ('Moderation preserves') and Rembrandt May have contributed to the album on the same day.

Starting in 1732, the album’s pages were reordered by Paul Andreas Hemmannen,[3] who remounted the original sheets, six to a page. Rembrandt’s drawing is now on folio 233 verso, no.5 and is unusual in being ‘on its side’ in relation to the book’s oblong or horizontal format. Rembrandt’s inscription, however, is placed horizontally and it appears on folio 233 recto, no.6. This is not the same sheet as the drawing, which is trimmed slightly unevenly below and the edge does not marry with the edge of the inscribed sheet. Thus the association of the inscription with the drawing is not watertight. Furthermore, the inscribed sheet bears what appears to be its original pagination, which although not easily legible is probably no. “169”, while the drawn sheet is not clearly numbered (see under Medium and inscriptions above), insofar as it is at all decipherable the number (98?) does not seem to be consecutive to or even near the number on the inscribed sheet. Rembrandt’s three other known contributions to alba amicorum – two for Jan Six’s “Pandora Album” in 1652 (Benesch 0913-4) and one for Jacobus Heijblocq in 1661 (Benesch 1057) – consist only of composition drawings, rather than portraits, and are merely signed and dated without a textual motto. In theory, at least, on this occasion he may only have contributed a motto, and not a drawing.

Nevertheless, the present writer persists in believing that the drawing is indeed by Rembrandt. This is despite the fact that it is difficult to find close stylistic parallels with almost any of his other drawings. But this is not entirely unusual for Rembrandt, as noted in the Introduction [under the "About" tab]. The drawing is exceptionally sketch-like for an album amicorum contribution, and even the framing lines appear casual,[4] though they probably suggest that Grossmann is at a window, looking out from a darker interior (cf. Benesch 0250 for a comparable lighting pattern). The hands, drawn with short, straight stabs, and the style generally, differ from the documentary drawings of the same period.[5] From these one might at a stretch point to the zig-zag shading on the right which vaguely resembles that in the silverpoint drawing of Saskia (Benesch 0427); or the pattern of fingers as sketched in the larger figure, upper left, in the studies for the grisaille of St John the Baptist (Benesch 0141 and lower left in Benesch 0140) or in Benesch 0260. But the analogies are far from overwhelming. The Berlin Self-Portrait drawing (Benesch 0432) has some superficial similarities, with the soft wash in the background with darker wash on the figure, but the style also contrasts with what we see here - compare the lines of hatching on the right - and the quality of the wash in the Berlin sheet seems looser.[6] Perhaps more than in other drawings of the 1630s, Rembrandt appears in Benesch 0257 to be working tonally, more than usually employing the white of the page to pick out details in the facial features and the beard, while ‘filling’ the darker areas in ink in a range of shades.[7] The emphatic, slightly snaking or curvy lines, for example in the nearer sleeve, are also hard to parallel elsewhere. That Rembrandt should be so experimental even in an informal album amicorum drawing reveals how unpredictable he could be.

The motto, “a pious mind esteems honour above wealth”, is of great interest but begs many questions. Although the words were not exactly novel, Rembrandt’s verse does not seem to be a direct quotation, though its sentiments can be traced back to the great writers and philosophers of ancient Greece. Honour is not an especially Christian virtue (it would be superseded by humility). While this catalogue is not the place for an extended exegesis, some aspects of the aphorism are worthy of remark, as well as a listing of some variants from Rembrandt’s era to place the artist’s version in some kind of context:

1. its similarity to the motto of Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), “Eer boven golt” (“Honour above gold” – also a play on Goltzius’ name – see further below);

2. the use of the word “eer” (honour) by Rembrandt later in life, as recorded by Roger de Piles and Arnold Houbraken: Rembrandt is quoted as saying that when he socialised, he preferred freedom to honour: “Als ik mijn geest uitspanninge wil geven, dan is het niet eer die ik zoek maar vrijheit” (When I want to give my spirit relaxation, then it is not honour than I seek, but freedom).[8]

3. the similar motto “Eer voor Goet is mijn Gemoet”, with the date 1600, in a manuscript song-book compiled by Aefgen van Giblant.[9]

4. the anonymous Den Redenrijke constliefhebbers stichtelicke recreatie, Leiden, 1599, includes a poem by D.A. Heemste in praise of Prince Maurits which he signs off with the poet’s own name and the motto: “Eer voor Goet".

5. G.A. Bredero’s Stomme Ridder, first performed in 1618 and published in 1619 (performed and published again in 1635), includes and dwells on the words: “Wat is de eer voor goet?”.[10]

6. Jan Hermansz. Krul's "Vermakelijcke Uyren" of 1628 includes a poem entitled "Een trou gemoet / Gaet boven goedt". [11]

The case of Goltzius (no.1 above) is of particular interest, not least because he also used his motto in an album amicorum drawing, that of c.1607 for Ernest Brinck van Harderwijk, as well as in two of his later drawings.[12] But of course Rembrandt’s distich was probably intended to refer less - or not at all - to himself or his own ambitions than to Grossmann, especially if the latter was indeed the author of the pious verses and translations noted here (see note 1). But the fact that it is not copied directly from an earlier source might speak for Rembrandt’s having at least some literary capabilities; and perhaps, even, some belief in what he wrote.

Condition: Generally good, if somewhat spotted and soiled.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt*

Date: 1634.

COLLECTION: NL The Hague, Koninklijk Bibliotheek, Burchard Grossmann album (call no.133 C 14 C).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Jaarverslag van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1897, repr.; Kleinmann, I, 38; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1240; Hofstede de Groot, 1906.I, p.32, no.33; Veth, 1906, p.128; Valentiner, 1914, p.147; Kaufmann, 1920, pp.48-49 (on the motto); Benesch, 1935, p.21; Landsberger, 1946/1961, p.102 (on Rembrandt's piety); Benesch, 1947, no.41, repr.; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.257 and under no.65 (1634; compares Benesch 0065 verso); Emmens, 1968, pp.80 and 159; Scheller, 1969, p.137; Broos, 1974, pp.193-218, esp. 212 n.45 (argues for date of 18th June 1634); Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, doc.1634/6, repr.; Broos, 1983.I, p.18, inscription repr. fig.12 (as Broos, 1974); Broos, 1984.I, p.41, inscription only repr. fig.12 (as Broos, 1974); Corpus, II, 1986, pp.108 and 353 (compared with grisaille Bust of an Old Man, Bredius 183, Corpus A74 [vol.VI, no.103], which might also be from an album amicorum); Schwartz, 1985, pp.186-88, repr. fig.196 (speculates that Grossmann was an arms and art dealer doing business with Rembrandt and Uylenburgh); Schwartz, 1987, p.187; Thomassen (ed.), 1990, no.52, repr. fig.11; Tümpel, 1993, p.407; Courtright, 1996, p.489, repr. fig.4 (stresses incomplete or sketchy nature of Rembrandt’s alba amicorum drawings, which was unusual); Woodall, 1996, p.220; Golahny, 2003, pp.127-28; Corpus, IV, 2005, p.156, repr. fig.111 (contrasted with Berlin Self-Portrait, Benesch 0432); Schwartz, 2006, pp.217 and 307-8, repr. fig.550; Royalton-Kisch and Schatborn, 2010, no.20, repr. (documentary drawing); Dickey, 2013, n.37 (Rembrandt’s motto not one he could easily live up to[!]); Corpus, VI, 2015, p.529, under no.103, repr. fig.1 (as Corpus, II, 1986); This Catalogue online, 28 April 2016; Schatborn, 2019, no.222 and p.18, repr.; Exh. Leiden-Oxford, 2019-20, p.73, repr. fig.98.

PROVENANCE: Graf Ludwig Paar, Vienna; Gilhofer & Ranschburg, Vienna (bookseller); sale, Vienna, Kende, 20 February and following days, 1896, under no.259, no.3, purchased by the present repository.

[1] See under Schwartz, 1985 below for further speculations. According to Johann Caspar Wetzel, Historische Lebenbeschreibung der berühmtesten Liederdichter, I, 1719, p.352, Burchard Grossmann was a poet born in Römhild who was active at the Princely Chancellery in Weimar, then an official and Burgermeister of Jena. Gottlieb Lebrecht Richter, in Algemeines biographisches Lexikon alter und neuer geistlicher Liederdichter, 1804, states that Grossmann became Burgermeister in 1637 – the year given as his date of death in August Jakob Rambach, Anthologie christlicher Gesange aus allen Jahrhunderten der Kirch, Altona and Leipzig, 1817, p.260. Wetzel states that Grossmann was the translator into German from Latin of Johann Gerhart’s Ein und Funfzig Gottselige Andachten, Jena, 1608 and that his acrostic poem, “Brich an, du lieber Morgen”, was published in the Coburg Hymn-Book of 1677 and 1683. Wetzel repeats much of this information in Analecta hymnica, das ist: Merckwürdige Nachlesen zur Lieder-Historie…, vol.II, Gotha, 1753, p.140, adding that in 1604 Grossmann married Regina, the widow of the Jena theologian, Timotheus Kirchner, who died on 4th March 1625. An early annotation in a copy of this publication in the Austrian National Library, Vienna (48.K.92) gives Burchard Grossmann’s dates as 11 May 1575 – 27 June 1637. I believe it likely that these references are to the compiler of the album amicorum, though I cannot be certain.

[2] The first album largely consisted of entries by scholars and friends in the towns where he studied, Leipzig, Jena and Altdorf.

[3] See Thomassen (ed.), pp.80-81.

[4] As noted by Courtright, 1996.

[5] From 1633-35 the documentary drawings are Benesch 0427 [Portrait of Saskia], Benesch 0057 [Self-Portrait proof etching - and the related proof of his etched Self-Portrait – see under Benesch 0057], Benesch 0089 [Christ and the Apostles, Teyler Museum, Haarlem], Benesch 0140, 0141 0142, 0336 and 0142a [Studies for the grisaille St John the Baptist], 0154 [Lamentation, British Museum], 0292 [Great Jewish Bride, Stockholm] and 0092 [Rape of Ganymede, Dresden], 0443, 0444 and 0445 [Last Supper, Metropolitan Museum, British Museum and Berlin], and 0152 [Studies of the Magdalene, Rijksmuseum].

[6] As described in Corpus, IV, 2005.

[7] In email correspondence about this drawing (3 May 2016) Peter Schatborn rightly pointed to the lower right figure in the rare etching, the Sheet of Studies of Men of c.1630-31 (Bartsch 366; New Holstein 33).

[8] See Roger de Piles, Abrégé, 1799, p.421 (1767 ed., p.382; see Helsdingen, 1969, p.229); Houbraken, 1718 (1753, ed., p.273). Kaufmann, 1920, already discusses the contrast between Rembrandt’s two statements.

[9] The Hague, Koninklijk Bibliotheek (135 K 36). Viewable online at: http://www.neder-l.nl/bulletin/2001/01/titelbl-800x580.jpg (viewed 28 April 2016).

[10] Line 690, see the edition by C. Kruyskamp, Stommen ridder.G.A. Bredero, Culemborg, 1973, p.96 (viewable online at: http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/bred001stom01_01/bred001stom01_01_0016.php Viewed 29 April 2016). Schwartz, 1985, p.187 also points to Bredero's play Moortje of 1616 in which the loose Moy-aal defends herself from being faithless by saying: "Ick beder so niet an, te vroom is mijn ghemoet".

[11] As noted by Schwartz, loc. cit.. Krul is often thought to have been portrayed by Rembrandt in 1633 (but the identification is questioned in Corpus A81 and vol.VI, no.91). P. J. Harrebomée, in his Spreekwoordenboek der Nederlandsche taal (3 vols), I, p.lxvii lists this phrase as a proverb ("Een trouw gemoedt / Gaat boven goet").

[12] The drawing of c.1607 is in the Royal Library (Koninklijk Bibliotheek), The Hague, in the album amicorum of Ernest Brinck van Harderwijk, f.256r. (Reznicek 195; Exh. Amsterdam-New York-Toledo, 2003, no.4, repr.). Another drawing by Goltzius appears in the album amicorum of Conrad Ernst von Berlepsch, is in Dresden (Sächsische Landesbibliothek; repr. Exh. Amsterdam-New York-Toledo, 2003, no. 4, repr. fig.4a. A drawing of the motto of 1600 is in Vienna (Reznicek 196) and in 1609 Goltzius made another, small emblematic drawing based on his motto (Sacramento, Crocker Art Museum, inv.1871.143; Reznicek 197); from 1612 is a larger sheet now at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (inv.1970.109; Reznicek 198 and ibid., 1993, no.A439; Exh. Amsterdam-New York-Toledo,2003, no.5, repr.). The motto also appears above Goltzius’ posthumous portrait engraved in 1649 by Jonas Suyderhoef (1613-86; Hollstein, xxviii, p.235, no.78) and published by the latter’s master Pieter Soutman (c.1580-1657).

First posted 28 April 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0258

Subject: Recto: Four Studies of a Baby in Swaddling Clothes

Verso: Two Sketches of a Rustic Couple Dancing

Medium: Pen and brown ink, touched with brown wash (recto only, upper right). Inscribed verso below, in pen and brown ink: “1657” (inventory number).

151 x 142.

COMMENTS: The extensive rework by a later hand, together with spattered spots of ink that, for example, destroy the mouth of the child at the upper right, have led to the sheet’s downgrading. In the wake of Hofstede de Groot (1906), it is instructive to turn the sheet anticlockwise by 90 degrees to see how it was formerly mounted, as the added shading then becomes right-handed (diagonally from top right to lower left) and easier to distinguish from the original penwork.

The sketch of the child at the lower right alone seems highly likely to be by Rembrandt, not simply because of its accuracy, characterisation and convincing spatial construction, but also because of its stylistic analogies to the documentary drawings for the grisaille of St John the Baptist Preaching, now in Berlin (especially Benesch 0140-41), where the pockets of short parallel shading for the modelling are entirely similar (compare also the details of the child in Benesch 0411). If this argument is accepted, then the other sketches of the baby also fall into Rembrandts domain. More borderline, attribution-wise, is the hand at the upper left: could this be an addition, or by the same hand as Benesch 0345, which seems unlikely to be by Rembrandt? Overall, the hand in the latter is more wooden in its modelling, despite superficial similarities.

The verso, though not retouched, also presents difficulties for an attribution to Rembrandt, despite the vigorous and convincing sense of movement it displays. It may have been made in preparation for the composition of Benesch 0394. The liquidity of the handling is greater here than in other works of the mid-1630s, when the recto was probably made. Some comparisons may be made, though they are not wholly persuasive: for example, with the top left figure in Benesch 0100 recto, as well as parts of the verso. Benesch 0101 comes slightly closer in the delineation of the outstretched arms with fine, near-parallel lines. For the pair of legs at the top right one might point to the main sketch of Adam in the documentary drawing for Adam and Eve (Benesch 0164). For the breadth with which the pen is deployed - and sometimes dragged to its side to produce thicker, brush-like lines - one can compare Benesch 0115 and 0482. The fighting children on the right of Benesch 0409 and the figure on the left of Benesch A18 also provide points of comparison.

Overall in my view it would be a too-harsh judgement to dismiss the drawing from Rembrandt’s oeuvre. His style frequently surprises in its originality, or even uniqueness, in a particular drawing (see Benesch 0157) and any analogies with the work of his pupils – Bol, Flinck or Van den Eeckhout, for example – seem more remote than with Rembrandt’s own sketches of a comparable type. Nonetheless a cautionary question mark is retained here.

On an iconographic front, Benesch suggested links with Rubens’s Louvre Kermesse,[1] but these are no more than generic. The depiction of dancers was already common in Dutch art before the 1630s, not least in the widely-circulated prints after Adriaen van de Venne made for Jacob Cats’s emblematic illustrations.

Condition: spotted and stained as well as extensively reworked by a later hand on the recto.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1635-38?

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.2674; inv.1157)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Munich, 1884-93, no.152b; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.490 (c.1635-40; mounted with left side below; verso sketch only showing through); Lippmann, IV, 6b; Saxl, 1908, p.534 (greatly reworked); Stockholm, 1920, p.54, repr. fig.62; Benesch, 1935, pp.22 and 27; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.258, repr. (c.1635; shows Rumbartus, as also Benesch 0259; verso similar to Benesch 0093 and probably inspired by Rubens’s Kermesse in the Louvre); Exh. Munich, 1957, no.43; Slive, 1965, no.445 (by Rembrandt); Exh. Munich, 1966-67, no.15; Trautschold, 1967, p.126; Munich, 1973, no.1105, repr. pl.306 (compares Benesch 0259; hatching later); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.91, n.2 (not Rembrandt); [Not in Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2]; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: perhaps Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (though not with his mark, L.620).

[1] He might have pointed to Rubens’s related drawing of dancers in the British Museum (inv.1885,0509.50).

First posted 3 May 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0259

Subject: A Baby Being Bottle Fed, perhaps lying in a basket

Medium: Pen and brown ink, with some later rework in purplish ink (which does not affect the faces); framing-lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower left: “5039” [former inventory number]

104 x 126. Watermark: none visible (laid down).[1]

COMMENTS: As Benesch 0258, the drawing has suffered some rework by a later hand, but the faces of the child remain unaffected by this. The upper study, in particular the drapery, seems comparable enough to Benesch 0258, although the face is less detailed. However, the lack of truly persuasive comparisons – especially among the documentary drawings – makes a cautionary question-mark seem warranted.

Condition: spotted and stained; otherwise good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1635-38?

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.620 and L.2723; inv.1656)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Berlin, 1884-93, repr. no.68c; Michel, 1893, p.580; Hofstede de Groot 1906, no.409 (c.1635-40); Lippmann, IV, no.6a; Saxl, 1908, p.534; Benesch, 1935, p.27; Amsterdam, 1943, under no.18; Benesch, II, 1953/73, no.259, repr. (c.1635; same baby as Benesch 0258); Exh. Munich, 1957, no.8; Slive, 1965, II, no.444 (reproduces Lippmann facsimile); Exh. Munich, 1966-67, no.14; Munich, 1973, no.1104, repr. pl.305; Vogel-Köhn, 1974, p.30, no.34, and pp.189-90; Schatborn, 1978, p.134; Vogel-Köhn, 1981, pp.41-42, no.34 and p.216; Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.24, repr. 9c.1635-36); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620); 1802-5 inventory no.5039 as Rembrandt)

[1] According to Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, the drawing is laid down but there is no watermark, but if the former is true then the latter may be uncertain. When I saw it in the Munich print-room it was laid down and I could not see a mark (1989).

First posted 4 May 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0260

Subject: Old Man Leaning on a Stick

Medium: Pen and brown ink on paper discoloured to light brown; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (also on the added sheet at top, which has another, parallel line where it joins the main section of paper). Inscribed, lower left, in pen and brown ink: “Rinbrant”[?] (see under Condition below).

135 x 78 (including added patches top and top left). Laid down on a Richardson-style mat.

COMMENTS: Although the somewhat ‘spikey’ style approaches that of Rembrandt’s pupil and friend, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (cf. the figure of Nicodemus in Benesch 0108, previously compared by Benesch), there seems no reason to doubt that that is a rapid sketch by Rembrandt himself. The style suggests the mid-1630s, given its analogies to his drawings for the grisaille of St John the Baptist Preaching (see especially the figure at the lower right of Benesch 0141) and a connection with the doctors portrayed in that work is possible – the listening posture of the figure would be appropriate. Another correspondence with this period are the figure’s hands, delineated in a manner comparable to those of Benesch 0257.

Condition: a fragment with additions attached that may have come from the original, larger sheet. There are some small holes and losses (which affect the second letter of the inscription) and the lines have sunk into the paper - the drawing may have been washed.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1634-35?

COLLECTION: USA New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection (inv.1975.1.796)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: W. von Bode (preface), Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann Collection, 1907, II, p.81, no.168 (as a Patriarch; NB. not in the Kann sale, New York, 1927); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.260, repr. (c.1635; compares Nicodemus in Benesch 0108 and related figure in Benesch 0088); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.18, repr. pl.15 (c.1634-36); Van Gelder, 1961, p.151, n.24; Exh. Chicago, 1961; Exh. New York, 1964, p.31; Exh. New York, 1979, no.24, repr. (as Benesch); Exh. New York, 1991; Exh. New York, 1995-96, II, p.185, no.58, repr. (c.1635-40); New York, 1999, no.67, repr. (c.1632-35; compares Benesch 0224 and Benesch 0327); Plomp, 2006.I, p.7, repr. fig.9; Schatborn, 2019, no.330, repr. (c.1638).

PROVENANCE: Rodolphe Kann, Paris; Duveen Brothers, New York and London ?; dealers); Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice (Newport and New York, previously married to George Dunton Widener, who may have bequeathed the drawing to her); Alexander Hamilton Rice; Mr. and Mrs. Louis H. Silver (Chicago); M.Knoedler and Co., New York, from whom purchased by Robert Lehman, by whom given to the present repository, 1975.

First posted 5 May 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0261

Subject: Seated Woman with her Hands Clasped on her Lap

Medium: Pen and brown ink, touched with white (by the chin). Inscribed lower right, in pen and brown ink: “67” [?]

137 x 100. Watermark: three bells from a foolscap mark.

COMMENTS: This and the following drawing, Benesch 0262, were rightly juxtaposed by Benesch as they seem to have been made at the same time and are related in style. Both are commanding characterisations yet they are unusual for Rembrandt both in scale and style and seem to garner stylistic features from different periods of Rembrandt’s career.

In the case of the present drawing, the style even relates to the earliest of Rembrandt’s documentary drawings, the Two Studies of the Head of an Old Man now in the J. Paul Getty Museum of c.1626 (Not in Benesch). The woman’s ‘seagull’ mouth with a line trailing directly down from it and then along the upper chin in one swoop, with a comparable line descending from the nose; the pockets of hatching, both those modelling the facial features and perhaps especially the darkest patch by the woman’s right cheek and left shoulder; the zigzag at her right elbow resembling an elongated no.’2’; and the vertical hatching in zigzag cones along her left sleeve are all highly reminiscent of the Los Angeles drawing. The Self-Portrait in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 0054) also exhibits these analogies in the modelling of the face and the mouth and eyes are described similarly. The thickness of the penlines also resembles other drawings of the Leiden period, such as Benesch 0029.

Yet the broad confidence of the drawing seems to point to the mid-1630s: the darkest hatching echoes the Adam and Eve (Benesch 0164) and the shadow in the lower centre of Benesch 0145, while the fine parallel – almost Leonardesque - hatching across the face, which is difficult to discern in reproduction, is also characteristic of the mid-1630s, as are the drawing’s analogies with Benesch 0274, 0400 and 0409.

Finally, there are links with drawings associated, sometimes tentatively, with Ferdinand Bol, such as Benesch 0167, 0263 and the Holy Family in the Abrams collection (not in Benesch). Bol's proportions were less secure than Rembrandt's, a criticism that might be aimed at the present drawing. The delineation of the hands is also exceptional in a portrait study of this type by Rembrandt.

In the hope of engendering some debate I retain the drawing as attributed to Rembrandt and place it in a wide time-span, between the early Leiden period and the mid-1630s. It may be that in Benesch 0261-2, Rembrandt again produced drawings that in style lie outside his usual canon, as in the case of Benesch 0257.

Condition: somewhat faded and light-stained.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1626-36

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute of Art (inv. D.1970.XX.3)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.261, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0262 and 0263); Sumowski, 1961, p.5 (similar woman in etching Bartsch 369, NH 177); Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012, under no.3, repr. fig.3 (c.1640); Schatborn, 2019, no.360, repr. (c.1640).

PROVENANCE: Anonymous collector (L.1708a); Karl, Count Wilczek, Vienna; perhaps given by him to Johannes Wilde, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1970.

First posted 8 May 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0262

Subject: Head of a Jowelly Woman

Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

86 x 85. Watermark: fragment of an armorial mark with the letters PR.

COMMENTS: See Benesch 0261. The similar modelling of the forms and the hatching on the shoulder (cf. the hatching on the arm in Benesch 0261) suggest that these drawings were made at the same time and, as Benesch surmised, they may be based on the same model. Again, the confidence of the draughtsmanship and the quality of the characterisation speak for Rembrandt, even if the style is hard to compare with other works by him. A pupil's variant, in reverse and drawn only with the brush, is in the Rembrandthuis.[1] Analogies have been noted with the figure of St Anne in Rembrandt's painting of the Holy Family, dated 1640, in the Louvre (Bredius 563; Corpus, III, C.87 and vol.VI, no.173).

Condition: good if somewhat faded.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1626-36

COLLECTION: F Paris, Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (L.829;

inv. 346.10)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: E. Dutuit, 1885, iii, p.94; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Paris, 1950, no.486, repr. pl.lviii (c.1635); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.262, repr. (c.1635; same model as Benesch 0261); Exh. Paris, 1955, no.55; Slive, 1965,, I, under no.200; Amsterdam, 1972, p.26, under no.IX; Exh. Paris, 1984, no.208; Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012, no.3, repr. (c.1640; compares Benesch 0500a [figure on the right] and Benesch 0759; Schatborn, 2019, no.361, repr. (c.1640).

PROVENANCE: E. Desperet (1804-1865; L.721); his sale, Paris, 7-13 June, 1865, lot 282 with Benesch 0555, bt Armand, 100francs; Alfred Armand-Valton (1805-1888), by whom given to Prosper Valton (1834-1906); donated by his widow to the present repository, 1908.

[1] As pointed out by Slive, 1965, I, no.100, believing that is was also by Rembrandt. In Amsterdam, 1972, no.9, Filedt Kok rightly, like Benesch, doubted the attribution.

First posted 9 May 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0263

Subject: A Man Sharpening his Pen by Candlelight

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, touched with red chalk and corrected with white;[1] ruled framing lines in a warmer brown ink. Inscribed verso in pen and brown ink, lower left: “a/o” and in graphite, lower centre: “ex coll / Rochlitz” and with the inventory and Hofstede de Groot numbers.

125 x 122. Watermark: none; chain lines: 23/24h.

COMMENTS: The drawing is of interest in showing a draughtsman, probably in Rembrandt’s own workshop, working by candlelight. Although the act of sharpening a quill was sometimes used in emblematic or allegorical illustrations, there is no reason to think that this was the artist’s purpose here.[2] Indeed, many drawings by Rembrandt and his pupils were probably made by candlelight, as has been suggested, for example, for Benesch 0053 and the present work must also have been made this way. Not immediately obvious is the back of a second figure that forms a dark repoussoir on the left of the drawing.

The style is highly Rembrandtesque and difficult to separate from Benesch 0267. In both these works there is an untidy, sprawling quality to the penwork which stands apart from anything to be found in Rembrandt’s own securely attributed works, whether or not documentary sheets. This is especially the case with the repoussoir to the left, which is blocked in with an uncharacteristic disregard for the modelling. Details, including the face, are also sufficiently unlike Rembrandt’s own drawings to raise question marks. Nevertheless the bold execution, effective characterisation and the satisfactory mise-en-page all point to a highly gifted artist, and among the most satisfactory comparisons is with Benesch 0108 (Crucifixion, Berlin), now often regarded as the work of Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. Compare also Benesch 0113, though its lines are less liquid. For this reason the drawing is tentatively connected with him here and if the surmise is correct, it would be an early work from c.1638-40.

Condition: the sheet has browned with age; some stains (mostly near upper left) otherwise generally good.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout?

Date: c.1638-40

COLLECTION: D Weimar, Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar, Schlossmuseum (inv.KK5492)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.525 (c.1635); Gabelentz, Zeichnungen alter Meister im Grossherzlichen Museum zu Weimar, I, no.27, repr.; Neumann, 1918, no.5, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.77; Benesch, 1947, no.59, repr.; Rosenberg, 1948, p.148; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.263, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0108, Benesch 0266 and Benesch 0292); Scheidig, 1976, no.39; Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, under no.182x; Weimar, 1981, no.407, p.67, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1999, pp.82-83, repr. (early to mid-1630s; compares Benesch 0095); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Johann Friedrich Rochlitz collection; acquired by the present repository in 1839.

[1] There are touches of red chalk in the quill, neck and the back of the main figure; the tip of the brush is used in the book behind the candle and elsewhere.

[2] See Exh. Amsterdam, 1999 for a discussion of this possibility. The association is usually with practice (excercitatio or usus). A painting of c.1630-35 by Rembrandt’s pupil Gerard Dou shows an old man sharpening his quill (Leiden Collection, New York; see Surh, van Tuinen and Twilley, 2014, fig.1a) and Rembrandt himself portrayed a man sharpening his pen in the same way in his 1632 Portrait of a Man in Kassel (Corpus A54; vol. VI, 64a). In these works an allegorical connotation is likely (as discussed for the latter in Corpus II, under A54, p.211).

First posted 20 June 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0263a

Subject: A Woman Standing with a Candle

Verso: see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash, heightened with white (perhaps with some later rework: see under Condition below); ruled framing lines in pen and dark grey ink. Inscribed verso, in graphite: “2438. C.H.” and “796” [Robinson, 1876 ed. number]; lower left, in pen and brown ink, much faded: ‘Van heer Broedery [?]’ and some numbers in graphite, now indecipherable.

181 x 132. Watermark: posthorn in a crowned shield, 'WR' below; chain lines: 25v.

COMMENTS: Although long dated to the mid or late 1630s, the drawing exhibits stylistic features typical for Rembrandt's Leiden period. The looping and jagged character of the line resembles, for example, the draughtsmanship in Benesch 0028 and 0035. In the light of such analogies it seems reasonable to adhere to the traditional attribution.

The drawing appears to be an independent work rather than a study. It cannot be related to any of Rembrandt's paintings or etchings, nor can the model be identified.[1] From the dress it seems unlikely that the figure was intended to represent a personality from the bible or history and it is uncertain whether she stands near a well or some other architectural feature.[2]

Condition: generally good; some tears repaired, left; top right corner made up; lower right, a patch finished in warmer brown wash, which reappears near the candle, on the woman’s breast and in a slipped stroke by her left eye; these touches may be later; the rest of the wash, though unusual in Rembrandt’s work, appears to be original.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1631

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1895,0915.1268)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Robinson, 1869/76, no.775/796; Exh. London, 1895, no.378b (same model as Benesch 0314, 'doubtless a servant in the artist's house'); Exh. London, 1899, no.A60; Lippmann, IV, no.77; Kleinmann, II, no.42; Graul, 1906/24, no.17/26, repr.; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.913; 'Drawings in the British Museum', 1912, III.4; London, 1915, no.51 (c.1630-40); Stockholm, 1920, p.82 (compares 'Indian Woman', Stockholm, Benesch 450); Paris, 1933, p.60, under no.1314 (compares drawing of similar subject in Louvre, no.1314, repr. pl.XCVI [= Sumowski 967x; also repr. Exh. Paris, Louvre, Cabinet des dessins, 1988-9, no.83, as Flinck]); Exh. London, 1938, no.51 (c.1630-40); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.263a, repr.(c.1635); Exh. London, 1956, p.8, no.10; Rosenberg, 1956[I], p.68 (c.1638-40); Slive, 1965, II, no.526 (c.1637-40); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.136; Exh. London, 1992, no.6, repr. in colour (dates to c.1631, Leiden period); Schatborn, 1994, p.20 (strangely neglected sheet; shows Carravagist influence; perhaps a subject in view, such as the maid in a 'Denial of St. Peter'); Giltaij, 1995, p.96 (perhaps by a follower of 1640s); Exh. London, 1996-7 (ex. catalogue); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001-2 (as Exh. London, 1992); Exh. Kassel-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.37, repr. and under no.36 (exhibited only in Amsterdam; c.1630; as Exh. London, 1992; figure perhaps standing near a well); Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.26, repr. (anticipates style of Rembrandt's drawings in later 1630s); London, 2010 (online), no.6; Schatborn, 2019, no.219, repr. (c.1630).

PROVENANCE: E. V. Utterson (L.909; not identifiable in his sale, 1857); J.C. Robinson (L.1433); John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with his collection by the present repository, 1895.

[1] The idea that the model is the same as in Benesch 0314, as proposed in Exh. London, 1895 (see above), is not convincing.

[2] A well was proposed in Exh. Kassel-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.37.

First posted 21 June 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0264

Subject: A Man Seated on Steps by a Door

Verso: Sketches of Falling Figures

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and later (posthumous) grey wash. Inscribed illegibly lower left in pen and brown ink in the manner of Benesch 0113; and lower right in pen and brown ink: "3"; inscribed verso in graphite, below: "Rembrandt" and lower left in pen and brown ink: "2634"

136 x 107.

COMMENTS: The drawing on the recto has been largely ignored and stands at some distance from Rembrandt’s own work in style (even after 'thinking away' the later grey wash). In 1987 I noted that it might be by Ferdinand Bol (MS annotation), though would now prefer a loose association with Gerbrand van den Eeckhout - cf. Benesch 0113, which exhibits similarly thin and wirey lines, combined with some bold touches of wash, sometimes using the tip of the brush. (Both drawings also bear a similar annotation.) If by him it would be an early work and probably date from around 1640. But compare also Benesch 0299 and Benesch 0324, which depict a similar figure in rather different styles, as if a group of artists had been drawing together.

The verso, first published here by kind permission of the Leeds Art Gallery, was revealed in late June 2016[1] and looks to be related, both in style and composition, with the falling virgin in Benesch 0097. It seems that a pupil may have been able to use the other side of the piece of paper containing this scrap. The penwork in the figure at the very top on the left is indistinguishable from Rembrandt's, while the other sections of the drawing seem somewhat heavy-handed in comparison, raising some potential doubts concerning its autograph status, but cf. also Benesch 0295 verso.

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: recto: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout??; verso: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1640?

COLLECTION: GB Leeds, Leeds Art Gallery (inv.1930.0009.0001)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Gerson, 1936, p.158, no. Z CX (notes Hind’s attribution to Koninck, but Gerson disagrees, comparing Benesch 0324); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.264, repr. (c.1635); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Sale of Property of Richard Hancock, London, Christie’s, 17 February 1930, lot 46: "A Man, seated, wearing a dark hat; various pen and ink studies of figures on the reverse. 6¼ in x 4¾ in.",[1] where purchased by the present repository.

[1] I am grateful to Theodore Wilkins of the Leeds Art Gallery, who organoied the lifting of the drawing to reveal the verso and was also able to provide the date of the sale at which it was acquired.

First posted 21 June 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0265

Subject: A Man in a Tall Hat in Discussion with a Woman Wearing a Veil

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash.

100 x 91.

COMMENTS: The drawing was rightly compared to Benesch 0263 by Benesch himself, which is stylistically close with similarly loose penlines and wash. It is therefore included under the same rubric here, ‘associated with’ Gerbrand van den Eeckhout and dated c.1640. The way the figure of the woman peters out below is curious (is the sheet, which I have not seen, damaged at this point?). Benesch reasonably suggested that the artist may have had a historical or biblical subject in mind.

Condition: uncertain (not seen).

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout??

Date: c.1640.

COLLECTION: present whereabouts unknown.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Leporini, 1927, no.410; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.265, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0263; probably for a religious or historical representation); Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, under no.165x; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: W. König (see under L.2653b - http://www.marquesdecoll

ections.fr/detail.cfm/ marque/9825 - [under the ‘Depuis 2010’ tab] – accessed 22 June 2016); sold by him to Dr Johann Török, Vienna.

First posted 22 June 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0266

Subject: A Rabbi in a Long Cloak with the Torah (spectacles in his right hand)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with greyish brown wash; a smudge of green paint lower left; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right: “1865 212” [last three digits crossed out]

127 x 125. Watermark: indistinct (with bird’s wings? Visible only in raking light); chain lines: 23h.

COMMENTS: The composition, with the motif of a long cloak resting over the back of a chair, is reminiscent of the contentious drawing, dated 1628, in the Draiflessen Collection (formerly Hilversum, Liberna Collection [see under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab]). As noted under the latter drawing, the motif is also encountered in a drawing by Ferdinand Bol at Windsor (Sumowski 134*), and in drawing by Rembrandt of a Seated Old Man, of c.1637, from the Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris [also illustrated under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab].

In style the drawing is closer to Benesch 0263 and Benesch 0267, with which Benesch juxtaposed it. Like those drawings, despite their high quality, the motor movements of the hand stand apart from Rembrandt himself and may be associated with Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. In this case the rather unvaried, flat wash throughout lacks the differentiation in tone and the incisive quality of Rembrandt. As with the abovementioned drawings, the present work, if by Van den Eeckhout, should be dated to his early period, when he was in Rembrandt’s studio (c.1635-40) or immediately thereafter.

Condition: Somewhat faded so that the brown wash lacks warmth; cut at the lower right corner (though never completely detached); a green spot lower left; line Benesch 0292, also in Stockholm, there appear to be residues of rubbed black chalk.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout??

Date: c.1638-40

COLLECTION: S Stockholm, Nationalmuseum (L.1368; inv.NMH 2065/1863)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1575 (identifies as an old priest); Stockholm, 1920, IV, 10 (compares Benesch 0258); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.266, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0267; under Benesch 0103 he also compares that drawing); Exh. Stockholm, 1992-93, no.139, repr. (mid-1630s; compares Benesch 0757); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Roger de Piles? [many Crozat Rembrandt drawings were said by Mariette to have been acquired from de Piles]; Pierre Crozat (Mariette, 1741, p.101); Carl Gustav Tessin (1695-1770; L.2985; 1749 cat. 1749, vol.15, no.7); presented by him in 1750 to King Adolph Frederik of Sweden; his sale, 1777, where purchased by his successor, Gustav III, for the Swedish Royal Library (cat. 1790, no.1865); whence transferred to the Royal Museum (L.1368) and thence transferred in 1866 to the present repository.

First posted 4 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0267

Subject: A Bearded Man in a High Cap

Verso: see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white. Inscribed: there is an erased inscription in pen and brown ink by Esdaile’s mark, lower left, illegible also under ultra-violet light; perhaps also an erased ‘JCR’ (Robinson’s mark, L.1433) at this point (see Provenance) and an erased number, lower right, probably ‘288’; verso, in pen and brown ink, by Esdaile: ‘1835 WE’; upper centre, in graphite: ‘S’ and lower left: ‘770 [erased]’ and ‘No.13’; lower left, also in graphite: ‘af.’.

170 x 125. Watermark: Strasbourg lily with letters 'WR' (fragment only), similar to Exh. Paris, 1997-8, p.241, no.8 (a drawing by Rembrandt datable c.1640); chain lines: 27h.

COMMENTS: The pose of the figure is somewhat indeterminate: he is perhaps seated and resting his left forearm on a flat surface, with his hands folded, and turned slightly to the right while looking round to left. He resembles a spectator, perhaps at a discussion or speech. There is a similarity between his features and the intertwined fingers and one of the mourners in Rembrandt's 'Deposition', most clearly visible in the etched version of 1633 (Bartsch 81, NH 119). A similar pose for the arms and hands was also considered for the apostle at the centre of Rembrandt’s documentary drawing of 'Christ among the Apostles' in Haarlem, which is dated 1634 (Benesch 0089).

Doubts have been expressed concerning the attribution and the name of Ferdinand Bol invoked (see Literature below). However the analogies with the work of Van den Eeckhout are stronger, for example with the 'Crucifixion' in Berlin (Benesch 0108), which is particularly comparable in the use of the wash.[1] There are also links with Benesch 0113 and with the drawings around which Benesch grouped it, perhaps especially Benesch 0263 and 0266, with their strands of criss-crossing lines and the carefully rendered hands. This attribution is adopted here with some hesitation, not least because the attribution of the Berlin drawing to Van den Eeckhout remains somewhat tentative. The problem of authorship is exacerbated by the fact that the development of Rembrandt's draughtsmanship in pen and ink in the first half of the 1630s is impossible to reconstruct on the basis of his most securely attributed, ‘documentary’ drawings. If by Van den Eeckhout the drawing probably dates from around 1638-40, during his apprenticeship with Rembrandt (perhaps also the approximate date of the watermark - see above).

It has been noted that the same model was used in a drawing in the Louvre (Benesch 268).[2] The features are also similar to those of the model on the right in Rembrandt cat. no.22 (1895,0915.1265). Whether the drawing was made with a particular subject in mind is uncertain.

Condition: generally good, though somewhat stained with yellowish patches (not foxing).

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout?

Date: c.1638-40

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1895,0915.1263)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Robinson, 1869/76, no.770/791; Exh. London, 1899, no.A6 (before 1636; compares Benesch 0113); Kleinmann, IV, no.3; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.911; London, 1915, no.18 (c.1630-3; compares to Benesch 0113); Van Dyke, 1927, p.106 (perhaps by Lievens); Parts, 1933, p.23, under no.1168 (same model as in Benesch 0268 in Louvre); Benesch, 1935, p.22 (groups with other figure studies); Exh. London, 1938, no.18; Benesch, 1947, p.21, under no.58 (compares various figure studies: Benesch 0273, Louvre; Benesch 0272, Berlin; Benesch 0107, Munich; Benesch 0263, Weimar; and Benesch 0271, Berlin); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.267, repr. fig.291/314 (c.1635; see n.2); Groningen, 1967, p.89, under no.55; Exh. Paris, 1988-9, under no.8; Exh. London, 1992, no.9, repr. in colour (c.1633-5); Schatborn, 1994, p.21 (perhaps by a pupil, such as Bol); Giltaij, 1995, p.96 (by a pupil; compares Bol's 'Joseph interpreting dreams', Hamburg, Sumowski 101); Exh. London, 1996-97, Appendix (ex.-catalogue); London, 2010 (online), no. 18 (as attributed to Van den Eeckhout); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); William Esdaile (L.2617; see cat. no.19; 1859,0806.72); his sale, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 17, bt Tiffin, 9s, with lot 16 (here cat. no.19); J.C.Robinson (according to 1st ed. of his Malcolm catalogue; see also under inscriptions); John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with his collection from John Wingfield Malcolm, 1895.

[1] See Berlin, 2006, pp.192-3.

[2] By Lugt in Paris, 1933, under no.1168, followed by Benesch, II, 1954/73, under no.267. Benesch also compared the ex-Gutekunst 'Holy Family' (Benesch 0114), and the Weimar 'Scribe sharpening his Quill' (Benesch 0263).

First posted 5 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0268

Subject: Head of a Bearded Man in a Cap, turned to left

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed: numbered top left: “9” [?]; annotated verso of mat: “G 11/ 7/ Y1/ G5/ Y7/ Z”.

52 x 50. Laid down on a mat with three other drawings (see below).

COMMENTS: This and Benesch 0269 were acquired by the Louvre and have long been mounted together with two further drawings, all from the collection of the Comte de Saint-Morys.[1] They were described in the Louvre's Reiset inventory as pupils’ works but Hofstede de Groot attributed them to Rembrandt in 1906. In the present case the model closely resembles that in Benesch 0267.[2]

They are executed with an uncharacteristically fine pen for Rembrandt and fail to convince as his work, being somewhat dry and stilted in their draughtsmanship. The pressure on the pen is generally unvaried (except in Benesch 0333) and the results resemble etchings. This style of work is unusual among Rembrandt’s securely attributed works, perhaps the closest among the documentary drawings being Benesch 0140, 0445 and 0477. These comparisons suggest a date in the mid-to-later 1630s and the drawing has been associated with Ferdinand Bol, a pupil in these years.[3] The drawing on the same mat of two heads (not in Benesch; Louvre inventory 22962.A) is also executed in this fine nib and yet seems further still from Rembrandt. Nonetheless, Benesch 0267-8 are retained here as ‘Rembrandt??' (associated with Rembrandt), not simply because of their high quality but also because a more precise judgment is difficult with such small drawings.

Condition: good, though presumably trimmed from a larger sheet (see above)

Summary attribution: Rembrandt??

Date: c.1635-40

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1995; inv.22962.D [formerly NIII8637 and MA8157])[1]

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Morel d'Arleux (Inv. ms vol. 9, p. 402.); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.645/1 (as Rembrandt, though ascribed [in the Louvre, following Fr. Reiset’s later 19th century inventory] to the school of Rembrandt); Paris, 1933, n° 1168 (c.1631-34; model the same as in Benesch 0267); Benesch, 1935, p.24 (1636); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.268, repr. (c.1635; as Paris, 1933, sees same model in Benesch 0267); Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, under no.164x; Arquié, Labbé and Bicart-Sée, 1987, p.453; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.8, repr. (compares Benesch 0267 and 0107, the latter given to Bol by Sumowski); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, Sen.; Charles-Paul-Jean-Baptiste Bourgevin Vialart, comte de Saint-Morys; seized by the French Revolutionary Government (“Saisie des biens des Emigrés”) in 1793 and transferred to the Louvre in 1796-1797.

[1] The following, from the Louvre’s website, copies the entry in the Inventaire du Musée Napoléon, of interest as the drawing was grouped on the same mount as 3 other drawings (inv. 22962A-C, inv 2269B being Benesch 0333 and inv.22962.C being Benesch 0269): Dessins. Vol.6, p.1039, chap. : Ecole hollandaise, Carton 83. (...) Numéro : 8157. Nom du maître : Idem [Rembrandt] /&. Numéro d'ordre dans l'oeuvre du maître : 21. Désignation des sujets : Sur le même carton cinq dessins : l'un à la plume et lavé, représente une femme a genoux ; les autres sont faits à la plume, et représentent des têtes. Dimensions : H. 10,5 x L. 9,5 cm [[la femme a genoux]] ; H. 7 x L. 11,5 cm [[le plus grand des autres]]. Origine : Idem & Collection nouvelle /&. Emplacement actuel : Idem & Calcographie du Musée Napoléon /&. Observations : Idem & [Remis au Musée pour être relié] [[à l'encre]] ]]. Signe de recollement : [Vu] [[au crayon]] [Vu] [[au crayon]] [Vu] [[au crayon]] [Vu] [[au crayon]] [Vu] [[au crayon]] [[trait oblique / au crayon / sur le n° d'ordre]]. Cote : 1DD38

[2] As noted by Lugt in Paris, 1933 (see Lit. above).

[3] By Starcky in Exh. Paris, 1988-89 (see Lit. above).

First posted 12 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0269

Subject: Head of a Bearded Man, almost full face

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed on verso of mat: “G 11/ 7/ Y1/ G5/ Y7/ Z”

50 x 41. Laid down on a mat with three other drawings (see Benesch 0268)

COMMENTS: See under Benesch 0268.

Condition: good, though trimmed from a larger sheet

Summary attribution: Rembrandt??

Date: c.1635-40

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1995; inv.22962.C [formerly NIII8637; MA8157]).[1]

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Morel d'Arleux (Inv. ms.);[1] Reiset inventory, vol. 9, p.403C (school of Rembrandt); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.645 (Rembrandt); Paris, 1933, no.1167 (c.1631-34; sees same model as Benesch 0268); Benesch, 1935, p.24; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.269, repr. (c.1635; not same model as Benesch 0268); Arquié, Labbé and Bicart-Sée, 1987, p.451; Exh. Paris, 1988-1989, no.9, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, Sen.; Charles-Paul-Jean-Baptiste Bourgevin Vialart, comte de Saint-Morys; seized by the French Revolutionary Government (“Saisie des biens des Emigrés”) in 1793 and transferred to the Louvre in 1796-1797.

[1] For the description in the Inventaire du Musée Napoléon, see Benesch 0268.

First posted 14 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0270

Subject: A Seated Old Man with his Legs Crossed, full-length, profile to left

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and later grey wash; framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed in a later hand in pen and brown ink, lower right: “Rimbrandt”:

152 x 132 (top corners cut to form an arch). Watermark: none visible (laid down)

COMMENTS: The drawing appears to have been made in four stages: first, the head, which is highly detailed and drawn with a fine nib, somewhat in the manner of Benesch 0268-9; then the body, in broad and confident lines which however lack the sense of form and structure of Rembrandt’s own drawings; some bold wash was then used to create shadow mostly behind and below the figure, which seem close to Rembrandt’s own approach; and finally the background was worked up by a later hand to create an interior space, so that the image resembles a St Peter in Prison. Opinion has been divided as to whether any part of the drawing is original, or just the figure,[1] or even just the head.[2] The head resembles Benesch 0268-9 and also 0349, and apart from the dark shadows is the only part of the drawing which might have come in serious contention as by Rembrandt. But even here the present work lacks structure and the attribution seems most unlikely. Only the bold wash might have been a correction by the master.

Condition: paper has browned through light staining.

Summary attribution: school of Rembrandt (retouched by Rembrandt?)

Date: c.1640-45

COLLECTION: NL Groningen, Groninger Museum (inv.1931-189)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Amsterdam, 1913, no.53; Exh. Leiden, 1916, no.2; Von Seidlitz, 1917, p.253, no.12; Hirschmann, 1917, p.8; Exh. The Hague, 1930, I, no.85; Exh. Groningen, 1931, no.90; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.270, repr. (c.1635; background and the cap added by a later hand; compares Benesch 0265, 0267, 0333 and 0400); Groningen, 1967, no.55, repr. (only the head by Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Lippmann; Kleinberger; De Valori (L.2500); his sale, Paris, 26 November, 1907, lot 201; Obach & Co., London, 1908; C. Hofstede de Groot (inv.558); bequeathed to the present repository by C. Hofstede de Groot (1914, no.93).

[1] Benesch, 1954/73.

[2] Bolten in Groningen, 1967.

First posted 15 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0271

Subject: Seated Man in a Flat Cap, resting his chin on his right hand

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower right in pen and brown ink with a paraphe (“Remb” ?) comparable to that in Benesch 0113 (qv) and other drawings.

114 x 91.

COMMENTS: This fine and informal figure study, while certainly Rembrandtesque, is not strictly comparable to Rembrandt’s own work. The style has something of Rembrandt’s liquidity in the 1640s and, among the documentary drawings, the slight sketches for an Executioner of 1640 (Benesch 0482 verso) and for the etched portrait of Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius of 1646 (Benesch 0762a) are perhaps the closest. But the flourish of the pen describing the shadow next to the arm is exceptional for this period and more closely resembles much earlier works, such as Benesch 0023a and Benesch 0027. The body resembles the figure on the left of Benesch 0386 and the details and structure here are equally unclear: the figure is perhaps resting his right foot on his left knee, but whether the object near his mouth is his thumb or a pen is uncertain. The hints of slackness detected in much of the drawing are reminiscent of drawings attributed to Ferdinand Bol,[1] but this can be no more than a tentative suggestion.

An etching was made after the drawing in 1756 by Johann Daniel Laurentz.

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Ferdinand Bol??).

Date: c.1640-45.

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin (inv.12948).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amtliche Berichte, L, 1929, p.14; Berlin, 1930, I, p.236 (c.1635; resembles Rembrandt himself); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.247 (c.1635); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.271, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0261, 0267 and 0273); Berlin, 2018, no.13, repr. (attributed to Ferdinand Bol; lacks plasticity; compares Bol’s Scholar, S.160x, Stockholm and his Holy Family, S.95x, Darmstadt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Wennerscheid (Dealer), Berlin; acquired in 1928 by the present repository with the aid of the Max J. Friedländer-Stiftungsfond.[2]

[1] See for example the background figure in the Shunamite Woman before Elisha, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Benesch C11; Sumowski 159x as Bol).

[2] With thanks to Holm Bevers for the provenance information (email 7 December 2016). In Berlin, 2018, he surmises that the drawing was in Vienna when it was copied by J.D. Laurentz.

First posted 16 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0272

Subject: Bearded Oriental in a Turban, half-length

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, touched with white (below the beard).

114 x 121.

COMMENTS: The drawing of a Seated Old Man in Paris, Fondation Custodia of c.1638-39 (see under Not in Benesch; inv.4502) seems to provide the closest analogies, combining like the present work highly refined and detailed touches in the face, often in thin lines, with bolder and more energetically applied contours and wash (in the turban clearly over the top of wispier lines). This is the period when many of Rembrandt’s drawings were made in iron-gall ink, and among the documentary drawings the latter seem to provide the most convincing similarities, not least in the persuasive and compact inner strength of the figure's structure. The detailing of the face, with the tiny open circles for the irises and the single lines for the eyebrow, hark back to Benesch 0336 of c.1634-35 but the wash in Benesch 0164 of 1638 is also comparable and it is to this later moment that the drawing most probably belongs.

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1638-39.

COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.KdZ8512).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.114; Benesch, 1925, p.22; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, no.103a; Berlin, 1930, I, p.231; Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.249; Benesch, 1947, no.58, repr.; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.272, repr. (c.1635; belongs to group including Benesch 0107, 0263, 0267, 0271 and 0273); Not in Berlin, 2006; The Present Catalogue; Berlin, 2018, no.1, repr. (c.1635-37; Rembrandt, revising Berlin, 2006, opinion; compares especially Benesch 0095, Benesch 0257 and Benesch 0340); Schatborn, 2019, no.292, repr. (c.1637).

PROVENANCE: Adolf von Beckerath (1834-1915), with whose collection acquired in 1902 by the present repository in return for a lifetime annuity.

First posted 17 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0272A

Subject: Bust of a Young Oriental in a Turban, his head resting on his fist

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

110 x 103.

COMMENTS: The traditional attribution to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, prior to Benesch’s publication of the drawing as by Rembrandt in 1964, seems tenable. Though clearly inspired by the work of his teacher, the touch is less precise, especially in the face and hand, where the forms are delineated slackly (the hand is outlined in an uncharacteristic formulation). Benesch 0385 seems to be by the same artist and both resemble Benesch 0088. Only the use of the tip of the brush to delineate the forearm and to make a correction to the centre of the turban comes close to Rembrandt (cf. Benesch 0440) but again these touches fail to describe the underlying forms at all clearly. Much the same may be said of a comparison between the penwork in the turban here and that in Benesch 0213. The documentary drawings also fail to provide support for an attribution to Rembrandt, but I cannot wholly discount the idea that, leaning over the pupil's shoulder, Rembrandt might have been responsible for at least part of the work using the brush.

The posture with the head supported by the hand has links with the allegorical iconography of Melancholy (for which see Benesch 0046).

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout? (Retouched by Rembrandt??)

Date: c.1640?

COLLECTION: R Moscow, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956, no.119 (Van den Eeckhout); Exh. Moscow, 1959, no.50 (Eeckhout); Benesch, 1964, pp.115-16, repr. fig.13 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.251, repr. fig.4); Agafonova, 1965, pp.402-4; Levitin, 1966, p.21; Exh. Moscow, 1969, no.26 (Rembrandt); Benesch, II, 1973, no.272A, repr. fig.321 (c.1635; compares Benesch 0432, 0434, 0440 ad 0441); Neveshnia, 1974, no.172; Exh. Bratislava-Prague, 1986-87, no.45 (Eeckhout); Sadkov, 1994 (Eeckhout); Moscow, 2001, no.474 (Eeckhout); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Neville Davison Goldsmid, The Hague (L.1962); Hoffmann Collection (L.1262); N.V. Basnine, Moscow (L.1960) Nikolay Semyonovich Mosolov, Moscow (L.1802); bequeathed by him to the Rumyantsev Museum, Moscow; transferred in 1924 to the present repository.

First posted 19 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0273

Subject: Man in a Flat Cap and Cloak, half-length

Verso: some childish and perhaps accidental scrawls in black chalk (not by Rembrandt)

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed top left in graphite: “110” and top right, in pen and brown ink: “2”;

91 x 58. Laid down.

COMMENTS: As well as the added strip to left of the sheet, there was probably another figure that has been trimmed away at the lower right, where apparently a shoulder remains.

In style the drawing comes close to the documentary drawings of c.1633-34 for the grisaille St John the Baptist Preaching (Benesch 0140-42 [especially Benesch 0141 and Benesch 0336) as well as the Lamentation of around the same date (Benesch 0154). The grisaille also contains some comparable personalities. Despite the modelling being undermined by some spots and stains, especially in the figure’s further eye, the powerful characterisation and confident handling of the sheet also speak for Rembrandt’s authorship. Only some superficial analogies with Benesch 0263, 0265 and 0267 might challenge this view, but those drawings lack the concentrated force and detailed exactitude of the present sheet.

Condition: a vertical tear in the centre and an added vertical strip of 6mm at the left.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1633-35

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886a; inv. RF 4694 [MS vol.20, p.267])

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.715; Paris, 1933, no.1164 (c.1633); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Münz, 1952, under no.204 (related to etching of Christ before Pilate, Bartsch 77); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.273, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0271); Sumowski, 1956-57, p.263 (related to grisaille for the etching of Christ Before Pilate, Bartsch 77); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.13, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jan van Rijmsdijk (L.2167); Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); Léon Bonnat, by whom acquired before 1885, with his album number at top right (L.1714); given by him to the present repository in 1919.

First posted 23 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0273a

Subject: Etching after a lost drawing: Bust of a Man in a Barret

Medium: Etching by Johann Daniel Laurentz (1729-1810)

89 x 76 (the etching). Inscribed on the plate, lower left: “Rt:”

COMMENTS: Laurentz’s etching after Benesch A059a is in the same direction as the original sheet, so the image is probably not reversed here. His etchings, as that after Benesch A059a reveals, are not of sufficiently high quality or accuracy to make a judgment possible as to the authorship of the lost drawing. In general terms the image seems to conform to Rembrandt’s pen style in the mid-to-later 1630s but may have something of the liquidity of the 1640s also.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1635-45?

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, I, 1954/73, no.273a (original c.1635; relates to Benesch 0265-73); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

First posted 24 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0274

Subject: Boy with a Child on His Arm (with second version of the child’s head, crossed out)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right: “24 […]” (the last digit cut away; inscribed verso in graphite:”Rembrandt van Rijn”.

100 x 82. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: The style of the sketch, as Benesch remarked, is comparable to Benesch 0401-3; yet it also has elements in common with Benesch 0263 and 0267 and an attribution to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout is not out of the question: the somewhat abstracted lines, as in the nearer shoulder of the boy, seem unlike Rembrandt, as does the claw-like abbreviation for his hand (and that of the scored out child) and the boy's somewhat muted characterisation. The application of the wash is also somewhat flat in comparison with Rembrandt’s own. Yet the credible characterisation and fine detailing of the child’s face, with precise hatching (also in the scored-out face) and tiny circles for the irises of its eyes have much in common with Rembrandt’s documentary drawings for the grisaille St John the Baptist (cf. particularly Benesch 0142 recto and verso and Benesch 0336) and with the children in such drawings as Benesch 0303 and 0313. Overall there seem to be some reasons for doubt (with suggestive analogies with the work of Gerbrand van den Eeckhout) but the drawing is here also, pro tem, retained as attributed to Rembrandt.

Condition: badly foxed, undermining the effect of the brown wash.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt? Gerbrand van den Eeckhout?

Date: c.1635-38.

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen [on loan from the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen since 1940] (inv.R 98)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.274, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0263 and 0401-3); Rotterdam, 1969, pp.20-21, repr. fig.11; Vogel-Köhn, 1974, no.15, repr.; Bernhard, 1976, p.139; Rotterdam, 1988, no.169 (anonymous school of Rembrandt); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.133 (Rembrandt – closer to Benesch 0401 and 0403 than anything else); Exh. Rotterdam, 2005-6, no.96; Exh. Istanbul, 2006, no.96, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Gustav Nebehay (dealer, Vienna – see his catalogue Die Zeichnung, III, 1928, no.80); acquired in 1928 by Franz Koenigs (L.1023a); presented by D.G. van Beuningen to the Stichting Museum Boijmans, 1940.

First posted 24 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0275

Subject: Young Mother Seated with her Child

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, upper right: "39” [Bonnat album number] and lower right with a paraphe resembling that in Benesch 0113 (qv).

160 x 136. Watermark: part of a crowned shield.

COMMENTS: In style the drawing relates to those in iron-gall ink made by Rembrandt in c.1638-39 – cf. the documentary drawing Benesch 0161 recto - and seems also to anticipate works of the early 1640s, such as the documentary sheet of 1641 depicting Two Men in Oriental Dress in Discussion, Benesch 0500a. Compare also Benesch 0411, including the zigzag shading to the right.

Studies from life of this type formed the basis for the genre style of Rembrandt’s depictions of the Holy Family and the Virgin and Child. Yet here Rembrandt appears to have drawn someone from his own household, as the woman apparently wears nightclothes, with a wrinle preventing band across her forehead as seen also in Benesch 0250.[1] The drawing may have come from the album of studies of the lives of women and children that belonged to Jan van de Cappelle (see under Benesch 0194). As a generic inspiration, one might point to Barthel Beham's engraving of the Virgin and Child (Bartsch 8; Pauli 9), that has been cited as a source for Benesch 113 (qv).

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1639-40.

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv.RF 4677; MS inventory vol. 20, p. 265)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1877-78, no.1192; Michel, 1893, p.588; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.738 (c.1635); Paris, 1933, no.1169 (1634-38; compares Benesch 0707-8); Exh. Paris, 1937, no.111; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.275, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0113; from life); Drost, 1957, p.174, repr. pl.186; Exh. Paris, 1957, no.55; Exh. Bordeaux, 1964, no.53; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.148; Judson, 1973, p.208; Vogel-Köhn, 1974, no.22, repr.; Vogel-Köhn, 1981, no.22, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.29, repr. (late 1630s); Exh. London, 1992, under no.11 (compares Benesch 0113); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.50, repr. (points to Beham); Exh. Paris, 2006-7.I, no.29, repr.; Exh. Paris, 2017, no.12, repr. (attire suggests family member, as wearing night clothes); Schatborn, 2019, no.366, repr. (c.1641).

PROVENANCE: Perhaps Thomas Lawrence; John Bouverie (c.1722/1723-1750), England (L.325 copied by hand on verso); by descent to 1st Earl of Gainsborough; his sale, Christie’s, 20 July, 1859, part of lot 125 or 128; William Russell (1800-1884), England (L.2648 copied by hand on verso); Léon Bonnat (L.1714 and with his album no. [39]), by whom acquired before 1885 and presented to the present repository in 1919.

[1] As noted by Grollemund in Exh. Paris, 2017, no.12, referring to De Winkel, 2006, p.60 and p.283, n.2.

First posted 26 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0276

Subject: Seated Woman with a Child Eating on her Lap

Medium: Black chalk. Remnants of ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink and in pen and black ink. Inscribed verso in pen and brown ink, centre: “Rembrandt”[?] (visible from the recto)

165 x 132. Watermark: none visible (drawing laid down); chain lines: 22/24h.

COMMENTS: The authority of this stunning sketch is exceptional, with its convincing characterisations and brilliantly controlled lighting (note the highlight on the woman’s lower lip). Apparently set down at some speed (to judge from the way the chalk so often skates across the surface of the paper), the drawing seems to have been made during the 1630s. A precise date is not easy to fix, but the handling – especially of the dark shadows in the child’s nearer sleeve, with its geometrically facetted configuration - still retains qualities common in the Leiden period (cf., among the documentary drawings, the shadow in the chest of the apostle in Benesch 0012; the tickled surfaces of Benesch 0083a).[1] Perhaps the closest analogies are with the two black chalk studies after Pieter Lastman, Benesch 0446-7, both made c.1636, but in my view the drawing could have been made a little earlier, c.1635.

The models cannot be identified but the halo of light around the child’s head brings New Testament contexts to mind, though whether this was the artist’s intention is uncertain.[2] The drawing could have formed part of the album recorded in Jan van de Cappelle’s collection in 1680 (see under Benesch 0194).

Condition: a small tear near lower left corner and smudges of grey along the top.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635.

COLLECTION: A Vienna, Albertina (inv.17555)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Schönbrunner and Meder, 1893-1908, no.998, repr.; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1455; Bauch 1933, p. 193, repr. fig. 40 (Leiden period); Benesch, 1935, p. 22; Exh. Amsterdam 1935, no.37; Exh. London, 1948, no.57; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.276, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0113, 0275, 0277; ‘halo’ made by candle brings religious contexts to mind); Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.85; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no. 60; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.15; Van Eeghen, 1956, pp.144-46; Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, no. 6, repr.; Exh. New York, 1997, no.51, repr.; Exh. Berlin, 1998, no. 26, repr.; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no. 51, repr.; Exh. Vienna, 2004, no. 45, repr. (c.1635; see further n.2); Exh. Braunschweig, 2006, no.10; Schatborn, 2019, no.278 , repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Kaiserliche Hofbibliothek; Herzog Albert von Sachsen-Teschen (Lugt 174).

[1] Bauch, 1933, dated the drawing in the Leiden years.

[2] Bisanz-Prakken, in Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.45, rightly noted that the shadows in the drawing do not respond to any ‘candle’ behind the child, an idea that was mooted by Benesch (1954/73).

First posted 31 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0277

Subject: Child Seated in a Chair with a Nurse

Medium: Black chalk; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed in black chalk, lower left, with a number: “[…]28” (?)

158 x 105 (trimmed slightly irregularly; highest and widest measurements given). Watermark: none visible (laid down); chain lines: vertical (distance apart uncertain).

COMMENTS: In style as well as subject the drawing appears to belong to the period c.1635 like Benesch 0276 (qv). Despite the economy of means in the faces, both figures are remarkably fully characterised. The nurse on the right was clearly sketched in first with lightly applied lines and then subsequently clarified with firmer, darker strokes of the chalk, especially below. The eyes and farther profile of the child’s face were also reinforced with strong but almost miniaturistic touches.

Condition: discoloured, especially at the upper edge; a brown spot (from rust?) just above centre; original paper creases lower right; probably cut to right and trimmed slightly irregularly.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1635

COLLECTION: A Vienna, Albertina (inv.30628)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1500; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Exh. Vienna, 1949-50, no. 11; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.277, repr.; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no. 14 (c.1635; may show Rumbartus; compares Benesch 0276 and 0278; foreshadows later drawings Benesch 0308-9 and 0414); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.24; van Gelder, 1961, p.150; Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, no. 5; Exh. Sydney, 2002, no.77; Exh. Vienna, 2004, no. 46; Exh. Vienna, 2013, no.146; Schatborn, 2019, no.273, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: J. Chr. Endris; Dr. Jurié, Vienna; acquired by the present repository in 1948.

First posted 31 July 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0278

Subject: Nurse and Child

Medium: Red chalk on pale buff paper. Inscribed in graphite, lower right: “113” and on the mat in graphite: “8715” and “25”

179 x 130. Watermark: ; chain lines: 21-25v.

COMMENTS: A characteristic drawing of c.1635, comparable with many other red chalk drawings made at this period, including the documentary sheets Benesch 0142a, 0443 and 0444. Benesch 0421-2 are especially close in technique, with comparable paper. The use of strong lines after more tentative ones is clear in the figure of the nurse, while the child is drawn only with a light touch.

The drawing may have been in Jan van de Cappelle’s album (see under Benesch 0194).

Condition: good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635.

COLLECTION: P Wroclaw, Ossolineum (National Ossoliński Institute; inv.8715)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1947, no.68, repr. (c.1643); Valentiner, 1951, p.347, n.7 (c.1635); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.278, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0277, 0308, 0421-2 and 0414); Exh. Warsaw, 1956, no.113, repr. fig.64; Gerson, 1956, p.283; Sumowski, 1956-57, p.263; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.24; Scheidig, 1962, pp.41 and 76, repr. fig.28; Chudzikowski, 1972, p.23, repr. fig.29; Radojewski, 1972, p.174; Exh. Warsaw, 1976, no.75; Exh. London-Birmingham-Dublin-Cambridge-Cardiff, 1980, no.73, repr. fig.72; Exh. Warsaw-Gdansk, 1980, no.75, repr. pl.45; Mrozińska and Sawicka, 1980, p.194; Exh. Braunschweig-Veste Coburg, 1981-82, no.78, repr.; Exh. Kansas, 1983-84, no.67, repr.; Exh. Wroclaw 1998, no.23, repr.; Berlin, 2006, p.112, n.2; Exh. Warsaw, 2006, no.1, repr. (c.1635); Kozak and Tomicka, 2009, no.1, repr. (c.1635); Schatborn, 2019, no.272, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Prince Henryk Lubomirski; transferred by him in 1823 to the Lubomirski Museum, Ossolineum, formerly in Lwow (Lemberg/Lviv; inv.8715).[1] Transferred to the National Ossoliński Institute in Wroclaw in 1947.

[1] Lemberg, in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, is now named Lviv in the Ukraine, having from 1918-39 been called Lwów and in Poland.

First posted 1 August 2016.

 

Benesch 0279

Subject: A Woman Scolding

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right, with a paraphe like that on Benesch 0113 (qv).

134 x 98. Watermark: none; chain lines: 25/29h; 19 laid lines per cm.

COMMENTS: The title is of course speculative: the woman appears angry to distraction and could have been mentally unbalanced. At all events the drawing forms part of Rembrandt's extraordinary exploration of human emotion in all its shades. The figure could well have been a (male) actor.[1]

In style the drawing seems close to the documentary drawings for the grisaille of St John the Baptist Preaching (Benesch 0140 and 0142, as also the Self-Portrait sketch in Benesch 0336) of c.1633-34 but might be slightly later. It was originally attached or pasted to Benesch 0184, a drawing which appears to date from the early 1640s, but that seems too late for Benesch 0279. The zigzag trail in the dress resembles that in the centre of Benesch 0092 and the woman’s head is drawn comparably to the heads in the Berlin copy after Leonardo (Benesch 0445). Both are documentary drawings, so a date c.1635 seems most acceptable.

Condition: good; probably trimmed from a larger sheet.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635.

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute (Seilern Collection, inv.D.1978.PG.181)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Reitlinger, 1922, no.35, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.279, repr. (c.1635; pasted together with Benesch 0184; compares the woman in Benesch 0401); London, 1961, III, no.181, repr., and Addenda, London, 1971.I, p.59 (c.1635 or somewhat later; compares Benesch 0164); Van Regteren Altena, 1964, p.184 (shows an actor); Exh. Paris-Antwerp-London-New York, 1979-80, under no.68; Exh. London, 1983, no.6; Schatborn, 2019, no.241, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Lord Northwick; his sales (i) London, Sotheby’s, 1-4 November, 1920, lot 175 and (ii) 5-6 July, 1921, lot 97; H.S. Reitlinger; his sale, London, Sotheby's, 22-23 June ,1954, lot 691; acquired 1954 by Count Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

[1] See Van Regteren Altena, 1964.

First posted 5 August 2016.

 

Benesch 0280

Subject: A Woman Suckling a Baby with Two Children

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

138 x 127.

COMMENTS: Two of the figures have bare feet, which may have led Benesch to describe the woman as a gipsy. The handling as well as the facial expressions - and the simple, geometrical construction of the woman’s face - resemble works by Govert Flinck, such as Benesch 0121 and Benesch 0061. Some doubts about the drawing’s attribution to Rembrandt were already expressed by Benesch.

Summary attribution: Govert Flinck?

Date: c.1638-40

COLLECTION: formerly D Dresden, Kupferstichkabinett (inv. 100244; missing since 1945)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.313 (c.1635); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, no.121; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.280, repr. (c.1634-35; compares Benesch 0402; seems too free to be a copy; a 'less careful sketch' by Rembrandt); [NB. Not mentioned in Exh. Dresden, 2004.]; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Friedrich August II (1797-1854), King of Saxony (L.971) and thence to the present repository.

First posted 7 August 2016.

 

Benesch 0280a

Subject: Saskia Sitting Up in Bed and Cradling Rumbartus

Medium: Red chalk; traces of ruled framing lines in black chalk. Inscribed in graphite, lower left: “5”

141 x 106.

COMMENTS: One of Rembrandt’s most touching drawings of his family. A comparison with Benesch 0427 confirms the identification of the woman as Saskia, despite her exhausted, sickly appearance. The style is close to the documentary drawing, Benesch 0142a of c.1634-35, as well as to Benesch 0136 of c.1635. Rembrandt and Saskia’s first child, Rumbartus, was born on 15 December 1635 and died two months later on 15 February 1636, and to judge from the size of the child the drawing probably shows the mother and son towards the latter date. Benesch 280b-e, also in red chalk, were most probably made at around the same time and, as suggested by Benesch, might have come from the same sketchbook, although the colour of the chalk does vary.

Condition: trimmed but otherwise good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1636

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute (Seilern Collection, inv.D.1978.PG.183)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: London, 1961, III, no.183, and Addenda, London, 1971.I, p.59 (c.1636-38; resembles a Madonna and Child; compares Benesch 0429); White, 1964, p.35; Kitson, 1969, pp.15 and 90 (c.1636-38); Benesch, II, 1973, no.280a (c.1635; presumably part of same sketchbook as Benesch 0280b-e; shows Saskia with Rumbartus); Exh. London, 1981, no.143, repr.; (c.1636-38); Exh. London, 1983, no.8; White, 1984, p.43; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.12, n.1 and under no.16, n.4; Exh. London, 1991, no.58; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1992.I, under no.20, n.3 (comparing Benesch 0426); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.48, repr. (c.1635-36; probably shows Saskia with Rumbartus; exh. in London only); Slive, 2009, p.85; Exh. London-New York, 2012-13, no.25, repr. (c.1635); Schatborn, 2019, no.277, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: James Edward Harris, 5th Earl of Malmesbury, Viscount Fitzharris (1872-1950); his sale, London, Christie's, 21 April 1950, lot 95 (with Benesch 0280b), bt Barnett, £140; Colnaghi & Co.; Count Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

First posted 10 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0280b

Subject: Two Studies of a Child Asleep

Verso: A Woman Holding a Child, and the legs of a child

Medium: Red chalk; verso: pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower right with a number (20?).

133 x 120.

COMMENTS: See Benesch 0280a. Again, the child may be Rumbartus although it looks perhaps older than the two months that he lived to be. To judge from reproductions (I have not seen the original), the style of the recto is somewhat overwrought for Rembrandt – it lacks something of his usual fluency and economy of line and the outstretched left arm seems inordinately stiff. Nor is there much sign of the tentative underdrawing that is so often a mark of Rembrandt’s sketches of this type (apart from the oddly outlined head on the right). The verso is also stylistically unusual; the simplification of the feet seems more characteristic of the 1640s. On balance the drawing nonetheless seems commensurate with Rembrandt’s own work, but final judgment should await its re-emergence from a private collection.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1636

COLLECTION: CH Basel, Private Collection

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.280b, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0280a; cut down as verso shows); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.16 and n.5 (relates red chalk to Benesch 0461); Schatborn, 2019, nos 275 [recto] and 276 [verso], repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: James Edward Harris, 5th Earl of Malmesbury, Viscount Fitzharris (1872-1950); his sale, London, Christie's, 21 April 1950, lot 95 (with Benesch 0280a), bt Barnett, £140; Colnaghi & Co..

First posted 12 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0280c

Subject: Two Studies of Saskia

Medium: Red chalk.

163 x 145. Watermark: part of the wings of an eagle visible.

COMMENTS: See the remarks to Benesch 0280a. Although the likeness of Saskia is not beyond reproach, the sketch may show her at a slightly later date and it appears to have been drawn by candlelight.[1] In the lower study she may be at a table rather than in bed and this face, which seems more robust, might be that of a nursemaid.[2] The upper sketch powerfully characterises Saskia’s weak condition.

Condition: good; some slight staining near edges, especially at left.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1637-39

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute (Seilern Collection, inv.D.1978.PG.184)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: London, 1961, III, no.184 (later than Benesch 0280a); Benesch, II, 1973, no.280c, repr. fig.332 (c.1635; Saskia ill; drawn by artificial light; compares expression of upper head to Benesch 0284); Exh. London, 1983, no.9 (c.1637-40); Exh. London, 1983.I, no.55, repr. (later 1630s); Schatborn, 2019, no.282, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: James Edward Harris, 5th Earl of Malmesbury, Viscount Fitzharris (1872-1950); his sale, London, Christie's, 21 April 1950, lot 96; Colnaghi & Co.; Count Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

[1] See Exh. London, 1983, no.9 for this suggestion.

[2] There seems to be no reason to associate the pose of this figure with representations of Melacholy (see under Benesch 0244).

First posted 14 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0280d

Subject: Two Actors: an Old Woman Presenting a Pitcher to a Smiling Man

Medium: Red chalk.

155 x 114.

COMMENTS: The style links the drawing closely with Benesch 0277 and Benesch 0280a (note the similarly pointed fingers). The scene appears to be from a comedy and the actor on the right could possibly be Willem Bartels Ruyter (on whom see Benesch 0120), looking slightly less corpulent than in most of the other depictions of him by Rembrandt, perhaps partly because he is not shown in full profile. The characterisation of this figure is extraordinary for such a thumbnail sketch.

Condition: apparently good, with light staining chiefly near the left edge.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1636

COLLECTION: CH Basel, Private Collection

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.280d, repr. (c.1635); Schatborn, 2019, no.255, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: James Edward Harris, 5th Earl of Malmesbury, Viscount Fitzharris (1872-1950); his sale, Christie's, London, 21 April 1950, lot 96; Colnaghi & Co.

First posted 15 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0280e

Subject: Saskia at a Table, Leaning Forward

Medium: Pen and brown ink; remnants of framing lines in pen and dark brown ink. Inscribed with number in pen and brown ink, lower right: “292” and on the former backing sheet (now replaced), top right: "Remb / ran" […]

106 x 120 (trimmed irregularly with missing top right corner).

COMMENTS: The drawing is close to Benesch 0280c-d and must date from the same period. As with the lower figure in Benesch 0280c, the identification of the model as Saskia must be open to some doubt.

Condition: trimmed irregularly from a larger sheet, otherwise good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1636.

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute (Seilern Collection, inv.D.1978.PG.185)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: London, 1961, III, no.185 (c.1640); Benesch, II, 1973, no.280e, repr. (c.1635; groups with Benesch 0280a and compares Benesch 0282); Exh. London, 1983, no.10; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.91, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, no.283, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Pierre Crozat?;[1] H.M. Calmann (dealer), 1951; Count Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

[1] The number at the lower right resembles that applied by P.J. Mariette at the time of the Crozat sale (see Schatborn, 1981).

First posted 16 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0281

Subject: Saskia Asleep in Bed

Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines.[1]

126 x 178. Watermark: possibly a foolscap but not clearly visible; chain lines: vertical (slanting slightly towards the top left), distance apart uncertain (laid down)

COMMENTS: The drawing compares closely with Benesch 0281A (cf. the loosely handled bed-drapery to the right and also the left hand), Benesch 0282 (the curtain and parts of the shading in the face and shoulder) and Benesch 0286 (the shading in the shoulders and the somewhat stilted facial features). A date cannot easily be established from the documentary drawings (though Benesch 0427 of 1633 has points in common) but the period c.1635-36 seems likely, around the time of Saskia’s confinement for and convalescence after the birth of Rumbartus (see under Benesch 0280a).

Condition: generally good; slightly time stained and with some surface dirt.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: F Paris, Private Collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.381; Lippmann, II, 65; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.995 (c.1635-40; compares drawings in British Museum, Louvre, Munich and Rotterdam; represents Saskia when ill); Heseltine Drawings, 1907, no.32; Graul, 1924, no.9, repr.; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.691; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.281, repr. (c.1634-35; compares Benesch 0256 and etching Bartsch 369, NH 177); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92, under no.20, n.3; Schatborn, 2019, no.265, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Jan de Vos, jun.; J.P. Heseltine; his sale, Amsterdam, Muller, 27 May, 1913, lot 12, fl.9,100.

[1] When I studied the drawing in 1998 it was in a frame and the mat covered the framing lines, but they are visible in old photographs. There were no inscriptions visible on the recto but the drawing was accompanied by a note, headed “6, Rue de Marignon” with details of its sale from the Heseltine collection in 1913.

First posted 17 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0281A (Benesch Addenda 4)

Subject: Saskia Asleep in Bed, eyes in shadow

Verso: mostly blank (see Inscriptions and Condition)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right: “Renbrant.” and verso, in pen and brown ink: "12"

137 x 203; chain lines 27/29v.

COMMENTS: A masterpiece among Rembrandt’s drawings of Saskia in bed. Its previously acknowledged stylistic similarity to Benesch 0281 suggests a date c.1635-36. Yet again, there are no wholly persuasive connections with the documentary drawings, though the use of the tip of the brush in the shading, especially in the parts that appear 'dryer' (perhaps also because the wash was more swiftly applied) has points in common with Benesch 0292 of 1635.

Condition: good; some accidental ink stains on verso.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: GB Oxford, Ashmolean Museum (inv. WA1954.141)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Parker, 1954, p.58, repr. pl.xiv (compares Benesch 0281, 0283 and 0286); Benesch, 1960, no.18, repr.; Benesch, II, 1973, no.281A <Benesch Addenda 4>, repr. fig.337 (c.1635; follows Parker, 1954; especially close to Benesch 0281; compares wash to Benesch 0283); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92, p.80, n.3; Oxford, 1995, p.70, repr. fig. 70; Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997-98, no.82, repr. (c.1642); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.42, repr. (c.1635-40); Schatborn, 2019, no.267, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: J.A. Hall.

First posted 18 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0282

Subject: Saskia Sitting Up in Bed

Medium: Pen and brown ink... Inscribed verso in graphite, top left: “10”, lower left: “39 / 102” and lower right: “7.6”.

149 x 190. Watermark: none; chain lines: 26v.

COMMENTS: The drawing belongs especially with Benesch 0281 and 0281A (qv) from the point of view of style as well as motif. Most earlier commentators have drawn particular attention to the pentimento in the sitter’s right arm.

Condition: overall the paper is slightly discoloured to grey; some foxing; top left and lower left corners and lower centre made up; other corners slightly kinked.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: NL Groningen, Groninger Museum (inv.1931-205).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, 1923, p.275, repr. pl.112; Becker, 1923, no.28, repr.; Exh. The Hague, 1930, I, no.105; Exh. Groningen, 1931, no.106; Göpel, 1931, p.195, repr.; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.688, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Exh. Groningen, 1948, no.104; Exh. Haarlem, 1951, no.150; Exh. Groningen, 1952, no.64, repr.; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.282, repr. (c.1635; compares other drawings of Saskia and Benesch 0112); Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956, no.50; Exh. Washington-New York-Minneapolis-Boston-Cleveland-Chicago, 1958-59, no.61; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.22; Heckscher, 1963, p.10; Groningen, 1967, no.57, repr.; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92, pp.14-15, and p.80, n.3 repr.; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.41, repr. (c.1635); Schatborn, 2019, no.266, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence; Samuel Woodburn (dealer); William Esdaile; his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 June 1840, lot 16; Cremer sale, Amsterdam, 15 June 1886, lot 258; S.H. de la La Sablonière sale, Amsterdam, 30 April 1891, lot 184; C. Schöffer; his sale, Amsterdam, 30 May 1893, lot 326; S.P. Vischer-Boelger, Basel; given by him to C. Hofstede de Groot, Sep. 1921, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1926.

First posted 20 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0282A

Subject: A Woman in an Armchair

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right: “373” [crossed out]

140 x 107.

COMMENTS: A superficially attractive drawing but the overly busy penwork is far removed in style and economy from anything by Rembrandt.

An attribution to Ferdinand Bol, already mooted by E. Haverkamp-Begemann,[1] seems reasonable in the light of drawings such as Benesch A6-7 (Sumowski 185x and 186x). For the motif, authors have rightly compared Rembrandt's own drawings of his household, but despite some similarities with Saskia the identity of the sitter is uncertain.

Condition: faded.[2]

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?

Date: c.1636-40.

COLLECTION: R St Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum (inv.5305).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: St Petersburg, 1861, no.70; Waagen, 1864, p.321; St Petersburg, 1867, no.261; Michel, 1893, p.59; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1525; Leningrad, 1940, I, p.11, repr. fig.7 (doubted by Falck); Exh. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956, p.110; Benesch, 1964, p.142, repr. fig.38 (reprinted 1971, p.264, repr. fig.243); Exh. Chicago, 1969, p.184, no.156; Exh. Brussels-Rotterdam-Paris, 1972-73, no.73, repr. pl.75; Benesch, II, 1973, no.282A, repr. fig.339 (c.1635); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1973.I, p.178 (Bol); Exh. Manchester, 1974, no.13, repr. pl.18 (compares Benesch 0099); Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, no.169x (Bol; compares Minerva and also Seated Lady, both in Berlin, S.166x and S.168x, and other drawings); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Count Karl Cobenzl, Brussels (L.2858b); acquired through Catherine the Great by the present repository in 1768 (L.2061).

[1] According to Exh. Manchester, 1974, no.13. It is there stated that G. Falck had already doubted the attribution to Rembrandt.

[2] According to Exh. Manchester, 1974, no.13, the drawing has faded because it was continuously on display in the late 19th century.

First posted 21 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0283

Subject: A Woman Lying in Bed (presumably Saskia)

Verso: laid down but apparently blank.

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink with brown wash, heightened with white, on paper prepared light brown; ruled framing lines in pen and black ink. Inscribed: the verso of the mat is inscribed in graphite, c.1900: “Cadre: Guill de Montmorency” and a number “4”; it is also stamped with what looks like a Swiss customs stamp (“Zoll”, with a cross)

165 x 146. Watermark: none; chain lines: 22/24h.

COMMENTS: Although some of the details appear somewhat pernickety (e.g. in the hands), there seems to be no good reason to doubt the drawing’s authenticity in the light of comparisons with, for example, Benesch 0255. Any alternatives seem highly improbable.

The ‘dry brush’ effect in the wash suggests work done at speed and is paralleled in the top left corner of the documentary drawings, Benesch 0423 recto and the slightly earlier Benesch 0292. The condition has upset the balance of the tones but the strength of feeling behind the characterisation is almost palpable. As an iron-gall ink drawing it should date from c.1638-39.

Condition: generally good, if somewhat faded – the ink seems to have sunk into the paper with a loss of contrast, though the whites seem fresh may have been restored.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Petit Palais (L. Suppl., 709a; inv. Dutuit 1011; Lugt 59)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Les Arts, no.xi, 1902, p.4 (article on Dutuit collection); Michel, 1903, I, p.239; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.773 (c.1636-38); Paris, 1907, no.1011; Paris, 1925, no.1066; Paris, 1927, no.59, repr. pl.xxx (c.1640; probably Saskia; compares etching Bartsch 369, NH 177; possibly no.200 of sale, Paris, Norblin, 5ff Feb., 1855, or lot 197 of sale, Van der Willigen, The Hague, 7 Oct., 1874); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.695, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.22; von Alten, 1947, p.18, repr. pl.23; Benesch, 1947, no.63, repr.; Exh. Zurich, 1947, no.99; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.283, repr. Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.78, repr. pl.36; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.53; Descargues, 1965, repr. p.102; Connoisseur, November 1966, p.176, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1969, no.57; Shapiro, 1982, pp.394-5, repr. fig.1 (inspired C. Pissarro); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.98, n.2. Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, no.46, repr. (c.1635-40; identifies Saskia via Benesch 0405; compares Benesch 0255; lies behind Benesch 0284exh. in Edinburgh only); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE:[1] Bequeathed to the present repository by Augustin Dutuit (1812-1902) with the desire of associating with the bequest his brother Eugène Dutuit (1807-86) and sister Heloise Dutuit (1810-74).

[1] For a possible earlier provenance, see Paris, 1927 in Literature.

First posted 22 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0284

Subject: Seated Woman on Steps, Leaning Sideways, by an Altar

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, with brown wash, heightened with white, on paper prepared with brown wash.

190 x 138.

COMMENTS: The iconography is uncertain and may have been elaborated from a sketch of Saskia in bed. A listener seated on the steps by an altar of a church, synagogue or temple come to mind.

Doubts have been expressed about the drawing’s attribution to Rembrandt. Certainly the lines are generally looser, not to say wilder, than the norm for Rembrandt, while the raised hand and forearm, as well as the face (perhaps based on Benesch 0283), seem somewhat rigid. Nevertheless, as with Benesch 0283, the characterisation is extraordinarily convincing, here with a living sideways glance; the broadly treated drapery alone has sufficient points in common with drawings such as Benesch 0254, in which the hatching and the wash are also closely comparable, to retain it under Rembrandt’s name. That he could sometimes draw with a broader, liquid sweep is also demonstrated by the slightly earlier documentary drawing, Benesch 0292, which also takes us by surprise in this regard. The handling of the wash is commensurate with several drawings – the documentary sheet, Benesch 0168, for one, as well as Benesch A6, now generally accepted as Rembrandt’s work.[1] For the outlined facial features of Saskia, compare also Benesch 0286. The date given here accords with Rembrandt's other drawings in iron-gall ink.

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1638-39

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L. 1886a; inv. RF 4683; MS inventory vol. 20, p. 265)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Bénard, 1810, no. 1954; Dutuit, 1885, p.102; Exh. London, 1899, no.195; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.706 (c.1635); Demonts, 1920, pp.10-11; Falk, 1927, pp.173, 176, repr. fig.5 (P. Koninck after Rembrandt); Paris, 1933, no.1171, repr. pl.41 (c.1638-42; compares Benesch 0283 and 0286, especially modelling of hands, and Benesch A12); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Gerson, 1936, p.178; Exh. Paris, 1937, no.125; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.284, repr. (c.1635; otherwise follows Paris, 1933; suggests drawing depicts a Jewish ritual); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.57, repr.; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.13; Bacou, 1969, repr. fig.3; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.139; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.98, repr. fig.98a; Starcky, 1985, p.263; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.17, repr. (c.1635-38; perhaps a pupil’s work largely worked up by Rembrandt; parts drawn in darker ink); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, under no.46 (perhaps by P. Koninck); [Not in Exh. Paris, 2006-7.I]; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Gilbert Paignon-Dijonval (see Bénard, 1810, no.1954); by descent to his grandson, C.G. Vicomte Morel de Vindé, by whom sold in 1815 to Samuel Woodburn (dealer); Thomas Lawrence (L. 2617); William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, 17 June, 1840, lot 12, bt Woodburn, 12s;probably his sale, London, Christie’s, 4 June, 1860, lot 774, bt Roupell, £2-5s; R.P. Roupell (L. 2234 verso); probably his sale, London, Christie’s, 12-14 July 1887, lot 1052, bt Thibaudeau, 4s; ; Léon Bonnat (L. 1714), by whom presented to the present repository in 1919.

[1] Starcky suggests that the drawing might have been retouched or reworked by Rembrandt (Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.17). He notes that some of the ink is darker, but it appears in almost every part of the sheet and is probably no more than the result of re-dipping the quill in the inkpot.

First posted 23 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0285

Subject: Reclining Woman Asleep in a Landscape

Verso: see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink, with brown and grey wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed in graphite, verso: “Rembrandt 5”

128 x 175. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: The drawing has been extensively reworked: only the figure and the pillow are wholly original, while the back and foreground were added later, probably in the 18th century.

The original drawing, despite apparently showing Saskia in bed, has been doubted many times (see Literature below). The outlines are somewhat more even than is habitual for Rembrandt and the facial features appear overly simplified – not to say unsophisticated. The lines and the wash (with the tip of the brush giving some precision to the shadows) resemble, for example, Benesch 0267, and the shading under the chin and in the upper torso seem somewhat timid or pedestrian. The facial features, on the other hand, resemble Benesch 0284 and 0286, drawings here retained, somewhat controversially, as by Rembrandt. There are also links with the now generally accepted drawings of Saskia in Amsterdam and Budapest, Benesch A3 and A9. On balance it therefore seems apposite to include the drawing among those “associated with Rembrandt”, as convincing comparisons with pupils such as Ferdinand Bol or Gerbrand van den Eeckhout have yet to emerge.

Condition: apart from the extensive later rework, the drawing is light struck and there are some repaired scuffs and tears, especially at the top right.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt??

Date: c.1636-40.

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. MB 239).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Catalogus van Teekeningen in het Museum te Rotterdam, gesticht door Mr F.J.O. Boymans, 1852, no.744; Vosmaer, 1868, p.511; Beschrijving der Teekeningen in het Museum te Rotterdam, gesticht door Mr F.J.O. Boymans, 1869, no.623; Dutuit, 1885, p.93; Lippmann, III, 1906, no.80b; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1359 (c.1636-39; Saskia); Saxl, 1908, p.348; Hind, 1923, p.84, under no.163; Benesch, 1926, p.31 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.88); Paris, 1933, under no.1171; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.694, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.285, repr. (c.1635; probably Saskia; reworked; compares Benesch 0283-4 and 0286); Slive, 1965, II, no.416; Rotterdam, 1969, p.88, repr. fig.236 (school of Rembrandt); Bernhard, 1976, p.143; Rotterdam, 1988, no.46, repr. (Bol, c.1635-40; reworked; compares Sumowski 168x); Exh. Istanbul, 2005, no.41, repr.; Exh. Rotterdam, 2005-6, no.41, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: F.J.O. Boijmans (1767-1847), by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1847.

First posted 25 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0285a

Subject: Study for Jacob’s Dream (Genesis 28, 10-22)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash.

124 x 173 (a section upper right made up). Watermark: foolscap

COMMENTS: The drawing has been generally regarded as a school work, even at auction, except in Benesch’s catalogue. The stylistic connection with Ferdinand Bol (cf. Sumowski 166x and 168x, which Sumowski himself compared) has been reaffirmed by the addition of Benesch 0167 (qv) as a ‘documentary’ Bol drawing. The hand at the lower left of Benesch 0167, if reversed, resembles Jacob's right hand here (see Fig.a), so that the two drawings may have been made at the same period, working towards the painting to which Benesch 0167 is related. Otherwise, the present sheet cannot be directly related to Bol’s painted work, but a date in the first half of the 1640s seems likely. Compare also Benesch 0125, of the same subject.

The inserted section at the top right probably originally belonged to the same sheet: if turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise (see Fig.b) it shows an angel's left wing, stylistically similar to that in Bol's drawing of Hagar at the Well, now in the Rijksmuseum (Sumowski 89),[1] and an angel is of course appropriate to a Jacob's Dream. The lack of wash and the fine lines of widely-spaced hatching on the fragment, which resemble those in the top left quarter of the drawing, suggest that it came from the upper centre left.

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol.

Date: c.1640-45?

COLLECTION: Private Collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.285a, repr. (Rembrandt, c.1635; subject an ‘Oriental Lying Down in a Forest’; compares Benesch 0281, 0285 and 0289).

Exh. Hamburg, Galerie Hans (dealer), 2011, no.20, repr. (text by W. Sumowski – entirely by Bol; compares Sumowski nos. 166x and 168x); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Nikolay Semyonovich Mosolov (1847 – 1914; Moscow; L.802); Moscow University Museum (inv.V4714); Soviet State sale, Leipzig, Boerner, 29 April, 1931, lot 197 (Rembrandt school); Dr M. Graff (L.1157b); Frau Schierbaum, Herford, Germany; her sale, London, Sotheby’s, 13 April 1992, lot 198, repr. (Bol); sale, New York, Christie’s, 11 January, 1994, lot 386, repr. (Bol, c.1645).

[1] Inv. RP-T-1930-27; see http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.28408 [consulted 24 November 2018].

First posted 27 August 2016; addition concerning the separate section 25 November 2018.

 

Benesch 0286

Subject: A Woman Lying Awake in Bed

Verso: Laid down (see further under Inscriptions and Condition).

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower right, in graphite: “10” [or 16?]; on backing, in graphite: “792” and other digits (775?) erased; lower right, in pen and brown ink, in Esdaile’s hand: “1855.”

84 x 104. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: uncertain, perhaps 26mm apart and vertical.

COMMENTS: The model was almost certainly the artist's wife Saskia, whom he married in 1634. She died in 1642. Rembrandt appears to have concentrated on the drapery rather than the likeness, which makes a secure identification difficult. Nevertheless, the figure resembles Saskia as seen in other drawings, some of which also show her in bed - e.g. Benesch 0281a, in which the clothes appear to be the same (and the left hands are drawn similarly), and Benesch 0280c, in which the resemblance is clear and the pose and expression of the upper face is comparable. The semi-circular shape at the lower centre edge may be the top of the head of a figure now cut away (cf. the Munich drawing of 'Saskia in Bed, with an attendant Nurse', Benesch 0405). The drawing in Rotterdam of a 'Recumbent Woman in a Landscape' (Benesch 0285), now ascribed to Ferdinand Bol, shows a figure in an analogous pose.

Reclining figures reminiscent of these drawings appear in two of Rembrandt's etchings of the later 1630s, the 'Joseph telling his Dreams' of 1638 (Bartsch 37, NH 167) and the 'Death of the Virgin' of 1639 (Bartsch 99, NH 173). Two more studies of Saskia appear in the etched 'Sheet of Studies, with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed' (Bartsch 369; NH 177), datable to the late 1630s or early 1640s.[1] The style of the British Museum's drawing is compatible with works of the period to which these works belong, c.1635-40, but it may date from nearer the middle of the decade than the end. Attempts to attribute the drawing to the Rembrandt school (see Literature below) are not possible to substantiate from a stylistic point of view and indeed the confident penwork is inseparable from Benesch 0281, while the economical depiction of the facial features is similar to Benesch 0314.

The pose of the head resting on the hand, repeated in many of Rembrandt's drawings of Saskia, is a feature of personifications of Melancholia, a theme that may have been in the artist's mind when he made them.[2]

Condition: generally good, though with some surface dirt; the sheet has been trimmed irregularly (perhaps cutting away another figure – see text under Comments) and is stuck down on another, more rectangular one; this was done before the application of Esdaile’s mark (applied in 1835; see Inscriptions and the drawing now attributed to Van den Eeckhout, Benesch 0267; both sheets are further stuck down on a card, perhaps the remnant of a larger mat).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1895,0915.1264).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1835 (ex. catalogue); Robinson, 1869/76, no.771/792; Exh. London, 1878-9, no.323; Kleinmann, IV, no.13; Exh. London, 1895, no.377b (probably not Saskia); Exh. London, 1899, no.A26; Valentiner, 1905, p.40 (1640s; of Geertje Dircx); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.934; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; Hind, 1912/24, I, under no.163 (compares etching, Bartsch 369; NH 177); London, 1915, no.53, repr. pl.IX (c.1635-40); Benesch, 1925, reprinted 1970, p.88 (relates to group of similar studies); Van Dyke, 1927, p.77, repr. pl.XV, fig.59 (Flinck, for etching also by Flinck); Paris, 1933, p-24, under no.1171 (c.1638-42; compares Louvre drawing, Benesch 0284); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.693, repr. (c.1640); Exh. London, 1938, no.53 (c.1635-40); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.286, repr. fig.314/344 (c.1635); Parker, 1954, p.59 (compares drawings of same subject in Oxford, Benesch 0281A, and Paris, Dutuit, Benesch 0283); Exh. London, 1956, p.19, no.10; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.62, under no.50 (see n.1 above); Sumowski, 1956-7, p.255 (c.1635); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.25 (c.1639-40); London, 1961, I, p.19, under no.184 (groups with Benesch 0280c then in Seilern coll.); White, 1962, repr. pl.16 (c.1635); White, 1969, I, p.159n (possibly related to etching of 'Death of the Virgin', Bartsch 99, NH 173); Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-8, p.127, n.6 (relates to other drawings of same subject); Ozaki, 1984, repr. fig.10 (gesture of Melancholy – see commentary above); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2[I], p.78 and n.3; Exh. London, 1992, no.19, repr. in colour; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.463; Giltaij, 1995, p.98 (by a pupil; possibly an early copy); Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997-8, pp.115 and 130, repr. fig.14a (dates to late 1640s and to c.1635 [!]; compares pose in painting in Edinburgh, Bredius 110); Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, p.183, repr. fig.c (dates c.1639); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001-2, no.44, repr. (c.1635-40; possibly alludes to melancholia; compares Benesch 0280c); London, 2010 (online), no.15, repr.; Bevers, 2013, p.103 (workshop of Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445; possibly case 1, drawer 2, no.44, in inventory of his collection prior to its dispersal: ‘Female in bed, pen, delicately touched’); William Esdaile (L.2617; he purchased all Lawrence’s 100 Rembrandts exhibited in the Lawrence Gallery exhibition in 1835 for £1,500; this sheet was presumably one of the 50 not individually described in the catalogue); his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 16: ‘A Woman in bed, musing’, bt Tiffin 9s; with lot 17 (Benesch 0267); J. C. Robinson (according to Robinson, 1869 ed.); John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with his collection from John Wingfield Malcolm, 1895.

[1] New Hollstein dates it to 1639-44.

[2] As suggested by Ozaki, 1984. See under Benesch 0244.

First posted 28 August 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0287

Subject: Saskia Sleeping

Medium: Pen and brown ink over traces of ?black chalk; ruled framing lines in pen and brown and grey ink. Inscribed lower left in pen and brown ink over black chalk: “NB: de Vrouw van Rembrandt.-” and verso, in graphite: “G.v.d. Eeckhout”.

98 x 94. Watermark: none; chain lines: approx. 27-29v (12-14 laid lines/cm).

COMMENTS: The drawing appears to be a copy after a lost drawing of Saskia in bed by Rembrandt, made in around 1635-36. The lines throughout seem hesitant (perhaps especially in the hands and upper arm), stilted and lack spontaneity; the hatching on the cheek and the nearer hand also seems mechanical and flat. There are also slight traces of black chalk – typical of a copyist’s underdrawing and unusual for Rembrandt in such a sketch – for example along the (repeatedly re-drawn) upper profile of the upper arm. The paper is also somewhat coarser than normal for Rembrandt, with wide chain lines as well. The original must have resembled Benesch 0282 and 0284 in style and date from the same period.[1] The style is highly reminiscent of the etchings after Rembrandt and Rembrandt school drawings made by Carl Ludwig Stieglitz (1727-1787) and the handwriting is also similar, so that an attribution to Stieglitz seems very possible (cf. Benesch 0385a).

Condition: generally good; some surface dirt and a warm stain (wine?) near the top edge.

Summary attribution: Anonymous (Carl Ludwig Stieglitz?) after Rembrandt?

Date: c.1635-36 [date of lost original]

COLLECTION: B Brussels, Musée des Beaux-Arts (inv. 4060/1199)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Brussels, 1913, no.1199 (by G. van den Eeckhout, but of Saskia); Paris, 1933, under no.1171 (Rembrandt); Benesch, 1933-34, p.303, n.9 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.88 and p.281, n.7; c.1634); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.287, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0282, 0288-89); Exh. Washington-Cambridge-Baltimore/Cleveland/San Francisco, 1954, no.60 (Van den Eeckhout); Exh. Rotterdam, 1954-55, no.52 (Rembrandt); Exh. Bruges, 1955, no.50 (Rembrandt); Exh. Brussels, 1962, no.166 (Rembrandt); Roy, 1970-71, p.57, n.3; Exh. Brussels, 1971, no.25; Béguin, 1978, p.186; Exh. Brussels, 2005, no.10, repr. (anonymous follower of Rembrandt, possibly a copy); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: possibly Cornelis Ploos van Amstel; Jean de Grez; presented with his collection by his widow to the present repository, 1913.

[1] The idea that the drawing is a copy was mooted by Hautekeete in Exh. Brussels, 2005, no.10.

First posted 31 August 2016 (last sentence with Stieglitz idea added 10 August 2018).

 

Benesch 0288

Subject: Sheet of Studies: Two Sketches of a Woman in Bed, and a Woman’s Head

Recto: Drawing by an 18th-Century Imitator of Rembrandt

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed with the inventory number.

149 x 201 . Watermark: chain lines:

COMMENTS: Despite the subject, which suggests a connection with the many drawings of Saskia in bed, the style is more comparable with Benesch 0195 (recto and verso) of the late 1620s. The cancelled head at upper right has something of the same mask-like quality of the lower face on the recto of the latter. Also the quality of the figure reclining on the right, especially her expressive hands, should not be underestimated and their treatment resembles Benesch 0411, a drawing in which some of the hatching is also closely comparable. In general the attribution to Rembrandt has been ignored or rejected in recent years, but these analogies suggest that the drawing should remain attributed to him, albeit with some hesitation. Its rejection would cast a shadow on the attribution of Benesch 0195. Among Rembrandt's pupils only Ferdinand Bol can occasionally seem so close to Rembrandt; yet Benesch 0195 is not like his work, and if the figure is Saskia, he would not have had such informal, intimate access to her.

Condition: some spots and stains, in part coming through from the recto.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1628-29

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.2673; inv.1763 verso)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1925, p.27, nos.2-3 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.88, repr. fig.58); Kauffmann, 1926, p.244; Benesch, 1935, p.22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.288, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0282, 0287, 0289; relates, like Hind, 1924, no.161, this type of study to etching of Dormition of the Virgin); Sumowski, 1965, p.5, no.123 (Bol?; 1640-45; relates to painting of Rest on the Flight into Egypt in Hage Collection, Nivaagaard [repr. Sumowski, Gem., III, p.1978 as by C. Bisschop]); Wegner, 1966-67, mo.58 (left hand figure perhaps inspired by Benesch 118); Munich, 1973, p.53, no.287, repr. pl.274; [Not in Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2]; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich.

First posted 4 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0289

Subject: Two Studies of Saskia Asleep

Medium: Pen and brown ink and brown wash, on laid paper; traces of ruled framing lines. Inscribed with J. van Rymsdyck’s mark (L.2167), lower left; inscribed on the old mat, lower centre, also by Rymsdyk, in pen and brown ink, "Rembrandt"; left, in another hand, in brown ink: "Born near Leyden 1606" and at right: "died at Amsterdam 167” [cut away]; on the verso of the mat, upper centre, in Rymsdyk’s hand, in pen and brown ink: "BXI >BXX / BXI XXB [partly erased] / Rymsdyk” [the name crossed out].

130 x 171. Watermark (visible with projected light): Shield above the letters "WR" (similar to Briquet 7211 [Amsterdam, 1630-40]).

COMMENTS: The drawing appears stylistically to belong c.1635-36, with Benesch 0281. The identification of the model as Saskia is somewhat conjectural, though likely. Many commentators have rightly admired the description of the state of sleep.

Condition: generally good, though with spots and stains.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: USA New York, The Morgan Library (inv. I, 180).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Fairfax Murray, 1905-12, I, no.180, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.415; Schmidt-Degener, 1908, p.108; Exh. Cambridge (Mass.), 1917; Exh. New York, 1918, no.27; Exh. New York, 1919; Exh. San Francisco, 1920, no.367; Exh. Cambridge (Mass.), 1922; Exh. Toronto, 1926, no.41; Hind, 1932, repr. pl.xxvi; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.690 (c.1636); Benesch, 1935, p.22; Exh. Buffalo, 1935, no.50; Exh. Chicago, 1935-36, no.31; Exh. Worcester, 1936, no.30; Exh. Hartford, 1938; Exh. New York, 1939, no.104; Tolnay, 1943, no.195; Tietze, 1947, repr. pl.65; Exh. Toronto, 1951; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.289, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0282, 0287 and 0288); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.51; Rosenberg, 1956, p.127, repr. fig.17; Rosenberg, 1959, p.75, repr. fig.139b; Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no. 24, repr. (c.1635-37; compares especially Benesch 0282); Scheidig, 1962, no.26, repr.; Great Drawings, 1962-79, II, no.580; Marks, 1972, pp.114-15; Goldstein, 1973, p.3, repr. pl.11; Bernhard, 1976, II, p.117, repr.; Exh. Paris-Antwerp-London-New York, 1979–80, no. 69, repr.; Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, under no.42, repr. fig.106 (challneges identification as Saskia); New York, 2006, no. 210, repr. (c.1635-37; compares especially Benesch 0282); Schatborn, 2019, no.268, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Jan van Rymsdyk, Bristol and London (fl. c. 1770; L.2167); William Tighe (1766-1816); Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York, by whom given to the present repository, 1924.

First posted 4 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0290

Subject: Two Studies of a Woman Sleeping, head on a pillow

Verso: see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink, rubbed with the finger [in curtain to right and above upper figure]; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso in pen and brown ink: “Samuel de Festetits / Ao 1851”; and in graphite, lower left: “B […erased]” and lower right: “[…] 19 / £.”

128 x 195. Watermark: none; chain lines: 24-25v; laid lines c.13/cm.

COMMENTS: Although the drawing has usually been associated with Rembrandt’s sketches of Saskia in bed, which date from around the mid-1630s until her death in 1642, the style suggests that the present sketch is later. The somewhat geometrical delineation of the facial features and the regularity of the parallel hatching are unlike Rembrandt and reminiscent of works by Willem Drost. But they also appear, for example, in Benesch 0380, in which the depiction of the curtain is also similar, and in Benesch 0632 and Benesch 0984 (the latter of which has been tentatively ascribed to Drost).[1] Among further works attributed to Drost, Benesch A67 and Benesch 1097[2] are also comparable. The torsos and lower limbs in Benesch 0290 are treated somewhat more liquidly, in the style of the 1640s, and a comparable approach is to be found in Drost’s Noli Me Tangere (Christ with the Magdalene) in Copenhagen (Sumowski 547x) and it seems correct to attribute the drawing to Drost, albeit with one question mark. Copies of the upper figure appear in drawings in the Louvre and in Besançon.[3]

Condition: some creases and foxing and slightly grubby; debris from an old support on the verso.

Summary attribution: Willem Drost?

Date: c.1650?

COLLECTION: Private Collection [?]

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, p. 130, under no. 560, and p. 166 under no.729; Oesterreichische Kunsttopographie, XII, p. 225, repr. fig. 244; Benesch, 1935, p. 22; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.290, repr. (c.1635; compares head of left figure to cancelled head in Benesch 0288); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Samuel von Festetics (L.926 - see verso inscription); J.C. von Klinkosch; his sale, Vienna, Wawra, 15 April 1889, lot 729; Stephan von Kuffner, Vienna; British Rail Pension Fund; their sale, London, Sotheby's, 8 July 1998, lot 105 and New York, Sotheby’s, 27 January, 2010, lot 68, repr. (as “attributed to Rembrandt”), sold for $37,500.

[1] For Benesch 0632 and Benesch 0984, see London, 2010 (online), no.105 (Anonymous Rembrandt School), and Drost no.9 (as "attributed to Drost", with further literature).

[2] See Schatborn, 1985, p.102, repr. figs 18 and 20.

[3] See Hofstede de Groot, 1906, nos. 729 and 560.

First posted 16 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0291

Subject: Two Studies of a Man Sitting in a Chair

Verso: See inscriptions.

Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso with red chalk: “164” and in pencil: “R13” [the inventory number]

160 x 192. Watermark: foolscap (partly visible through the backing; cf. Heawood no.125, datable 1645).

COMMENTS: The sketch was made from the same figure in different poses, and on the right shows the man’s stick leaning in the threshold of a door.

The style, including the hatching and the somewhat loose modelling is characteristic of Govert Flinck and may be compared with such works as Benesch 0002, 0048, 0081 and 0117, as well as his Musketeer now in Copenhagen, Sumowski 953x.[1] Benesch compared Benesch 0407 of c.1640, which is suggestive for dating the present work, so clearly inspired by Rembrandt but probably drawn after Flinck’s apprenticeship in c.1633-36. A comparable drawing by the same hand, showing a single figure, is in Berlin.[2] A partial copy was in 1966 in a private collection in Brussels[3] and a copy of the figure on the left, inscribed on the verso by Charles [Robert] Leslie (1794-1859) was in a private collection in Arizona in 1996.[4]

Condition: some foxmarks, especially near the top and down the right side, and some overall discolouration to brown.

Summary attribution: Govert Flinck.

Date: c.1638-40.

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. R 13).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Paris, 1908, no.426; Lippmann, IV, 1911, no.49; Lees, 1913, p.117, repr. fig.132; Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.327; Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.246 (c.1638); Exh. Rotterdam, 1934, no.77; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Exh. Rotterdam, 1938, no.315; Exh. Braunschweig, 1948, no.32; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.291, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0407 and 0408); Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.18; Slive, II, 1965, no.494; Rotterdam, 1969, p.83, repr. fig.216 (doubtful as Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1971, p.125, n.80; Rotterdam, 1988, no.79, repr. (Govert Flinck, comparing Musketeer in Copenhagen, Sumowski 953x, and Benesch 0518b [also ascribed to Flinck]; compares drawing described in Berlin, 1930, p.231, inv.5787, repr. fig.163; records partial copy in private collection, Antwerp and Brussels); Exh. Rotterdam, 2005-2006, no.61, repr. in colour; Exh. Istanbul, 2006, no.61, repr. in colour; Exh. Cleves, 2015, no.??; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, jr (L.2170); Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); Emil Wauters (L.911); his sale, Amsterdam, Mensing’s, 15-16 June, 1926, lot 147, repr.; acquired 1926 by Franz Koenigs (L.1023a); presented by D.G. van Beuningen to the Stichting [Foundation] Museum Boijmans, 1940; on loan since then to the present repository from the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Koenigs collection).

[1] The latter comparison made by Giltaij in Rotterdam, 1988, no.79; compare also Sumowski 948bx, not least in the hatching of the shadows.

[2] Berlin, 1930, p.231, inv.5787, repr. fig.163.

[3] Recorded by Giltaij as n.1 above.

[4] Letter from the owner to the compiler, 28 October 1996.

First posted 18 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0292

Subject: The Great Jewish Bride: Study for the Etching

Verso: laid down.

Medium: Pen and brown ink with greyish brown wash; thick framing lines in brown ink. Inscribed lower right, in pen and brown ink: “1798.” and “180” [crossed out]; an inscription, probably the artist's name, partly shows through from the verso near these numbers.

232 x 182. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: 24v

COMMENTS: A documentary drawing, being a preparatory study, in reverse, for Rembrandt’s etching, The Great Jewish Bride (Bartsch 340; NH 154). The etching is generally thought to be dated 1635.[1] The print was apparently begun, and its first two states completed, before Rembrandt made this drawing as a preliminary sketch for the completion of the composition. The subject, a woman holding a scroll, was probably intended to represent Esther, adorned in her finery and holding the decree to slay the Jews, prior to intervening on behalf of her people before Ahasuerus (Esther, IV, 8 and V,1).

The drawing appears to have been made in three distinct stages: first, the head and trailing hair were lightly indicated in delicate lines, for the most part paler in tone than the other lines in the drawing. Those in the background architecture and the halo of zig-zags around the bust of the figure also seem to belong to this early stage, which may have been based on the plate, which shows the composition in the same direction (of from a counterproof, although none is now known); secondly, the rest of the figure, including all the drapery from the chest downwards, was completed by the artist from the imagination (‘uit het hoofd’) in darker, mostly more vigorous lines; finally, the wash was applied, clarifying the forms of the figure and introducing, to the right and upper centre, further architectural elements.

The lighter lines, mostly in the upper half of the drawing, seem to have been copied by Rembrandt from the copper plate or from a counterproof of an early state of the etching (state 1 or 2); thus, rather than being a preparatory drawing in the canonical sense, the intention was to sketch out the completion of the composition in preparation only for the final states (from state 3 inclusive; the two later states, 4 and 5, add shading over the figure’s hands and tinker with the architectural background).

It is generally agreed that Saskia served as the model for the first state of the etching (compare his etchings of her, Bartsch 365 and 367 [NH 157 of 1636 and NH 162]); but for the drawing he seems to have worked from the copper plate or from a counterproof of the second state: this explains the dichotomy of styles and also the unusually liquid handling of the pen in the drapery, where Rembrandt was presumably no longer working from directly from the model, but from his imagination. Similar uses of drawings, interrupting works in progress, occur with Rembrandt’s study of Maria Trip (Benesch 0442), made after the related painting was well advanced, and his sketch for the etching of the Artist and his Model (Benesch 0423), which was also made only after the early states of the print had been completed.

Subjects from the Old Testament were common in the young Dutch Republic and analogies were seen between the liberation of Holland from the Spanish yoke and the escape of the Jews from tyranny. A painting by Rembrandt of 1632-33, perhaps of the same subject, is in Ottawa (Bredius 494; Corpus A64; Corpus, VI, no.100; in both Corpus volumes an identification of the subject as Judith is preferred); a later drawing, probably intended to represent Esther, is now in the British Museum (Benesch 1174).

Condition: generally good, if slightly faded; some yellowish spots, mostly top right and along top edge, and greenish ones, lower right.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt*

Date: c.1635.

COLLECTION: S Stockholm, Nationalmuseum (L.1638; inv.1992/1863).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.221; Lippmann, II, no.18; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1569; Saxl, 1908, p.336; Neumann, 1918.I, p.122, repr. fig.43; Stockholm, 1920, IV, no.15; von Seidlitz, 1922, p.239; Hind, 1923, p.75; Valentiner, 1925-26, p.270 (perhaps an actor, as Minerva?); Weisbach, 1926, col.233; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.572, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Exh. Amsterdam, 1935, no.5; Benesch, 1947, no.16, repr.; Münz, 1952, p.239; Boeck, 1953, pp.196-7, repr. fig.165; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.292, repr. fig.322/351 (1635; compares Benesch 0099; also Benesch 0293 recto and verso, 0294 ditto, 0294A, 0295-7; probably represents a Sibyl); Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.74; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.32; Exh. Munich, 1957; Benesch, 1960, no.16; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.25; Slive, 1965, no.235; Descargues, 1965, p.110; Kahr, 1966, p.242, repr. fig.8 (argues drawing and print date from 1637 and represent Esther); Exh. Stockholm, 1967, no.267; Gerson, 1968, p.249, repr. fig.94a; White, 1969, p.115, repr. fig.145; Exh. Washington-Fort Worth-San Francisco, 1986, no.88; Schatborn, 1986, p.20; Exh. Exeter, 1988, p.9 of introduction, repr. fig.5 (first argued that drawing made between 2nd and 3rd states); Exh. Stockholm, 1992-93, no.138 (compares Benesch 0395); Royalton-Kisch, 1993.I, p.188, repr. fig.8 (drawn between 2nd and 3rd states); White, 1999, pp.125-8, repr. fig.158; Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, pp.72-3, repr. fig.14 and under no.25, repr. fig.a (Esther); Schatborn, 2019, no.17, repr. (c.1635).

PROVENANCE: Pierre Crozat (perhaps from Roger de Piles; Mariette p.101, and with his cancelled number ‘180’ lower right); Count Gustav Tessin (1695-1770; L.2985; List, 1739-42, f.46v; cat., 1749, livre 15, no.5 ); presented by him in 1750 to King Adolph Frederik of Sweden; his sale, 1777, where purchased by his successor, Gustav III, for the Royal Library (cat., 1790, no.1798), whence transferred to the Royal Museum and then to the present repository, 1866.

[1] Kahr, 1966, p.242 suggested reading the date as 1637, which is perhaps not wholly impossible from an orthographic point of view; but the watermarks found in impressions of the print in its first three states all seem to date from 1635 (see New Hollstein, under no.154).

First posted 19 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0292a

Subject: Young Woman Standing by a Table

Medium: Pen and brown and dark brown (possibly iron-gall?) ink with brown wash (partly by a later hand) over black chalk. Inscribed top left in pen and brown ink by a later hand: “Rembrandt 1631” and on verso in black chalk: “158”

147 x 100.

COMMENTS: A fairly characteristic (and alluring) drawing by Ferdinand Bol. Compare the two sketches of a High Priest (Benesch 0102-3). As Benesch pointed out, the artist (he thought Rembrandt) may have had the iconography of Sophonisba or another historical or allegorical figure in mind,[1] despite the model's domestic appearance. The table seems to have been added over the initial sketch-in of the figure.

The nearest Rembrandt himself comes to this style is exemplified by Benesch 0207 - the pose, too, is not dissimilar - and the present drawing may have been made not much later.

Condition: the darker ink seems to have had an acidic effect on the paper and may be iron-gall; otherwise good, if slightly trimmed.

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol.

Date: c.1640-45.

COLLECTION: Private Collection?

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.292a (c.1635; probably of Saskia; compares iconography of various paintings based on her, and for style or technique Benesch 0102, 0292, 0311 and 0325, as well as the “Self-Portraits” Benesch 0432 and 0434); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Lady Wantage, 1945; Captain and Mrs Edward Speelman (dealer); by descent; their sale, London, Sotheby’s, 9 July 2014, lot 110, repr. (as attributed to Ferdinand Bol), sold for £6,000.

[1] Benesch, 1954/73, no.292a, referring inparticular to the painting in Madrid of 1634 (Bredius 468, Corpus A94, vol.VI, no.128), but there is no direct compositional connection with the drawing.

First posted 20 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0293

Subject: Two Actors, One as Capitano from the Commedia dell’Arte

Verso: Two Actors, One as Pantalone from the Commedia dell’Arte

Medium: Pen and brown ink with (recto only) brown wash.

182 x 153. Watermark: none; chain lines: 25h.

COMMENTS: The characters portrayed conform to types from the Commedia dell’arte,[1] but the particular scenes or performances have not been identified. The open bag held by the subsidiary figure on the recto could be a procuress making a lewd suggestion.[2]

The recto is a squall of energy, remarkable for its swift, spirited style and for the confidence with which Rembrandt captures a scene that he must have wanted to set down as fast as possible, preferably before it changed. The handling resembles such works as Benesch 0097 and also the documentary drawings, Benesch 0092 and Benesch 0445 (where the hatching to the right is also similar). The verso is somewhat more subdued and closer in style and tempo to the preparatory drawings for the St John the Baptist grisaille in Berlin, perhaps especially Benesch 0142.

The motif of drapery thrown over a chair-back is found in a number of drawings, mostly earlier than this, including the problematic drawing from the Liberna/Draiflessen collection at Mettingen (not in Benesch), a drawing by Ferdinand Bol at Windsor (Sumowski 134x), Benesch 0266 and the drawing by Rembrandt of a Seated Old Man, of c.1637, from the Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris (not in Benesch).

Condition: generally good, but slightly time-stained and perhaps somewhat trimmed.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1635-36

COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Rijksprentenkabinet (inv.RP-T-1961-76)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Kossmann, 1915 (verso repr. opposite title-page); Hirschmann, 1917, p.8, verso repr. fig.2; Exh. Leiden, 1916, no.13 (c.1635); Valentiner, 1925-26, pp.269 and 266 (c.1635); Weisbach, 1926, p.182; Exh. The Hague, 1930, no.82 (c.1635); Exh. Amsterdam, 1931, no.58; Exh. Amsterdam 1932, p. 84, no. 247; Valentiner, II, 1934, nos 753A-B; Benesch, 1935, p.15; Witkowski, 1937, p.127, recto repr. fig.19; Exh. Bern, 1937, no.190 (c.1639); Benesch, 1947, no.51, repr. (c.1635); Exh. Basel, 1948, no.7 (c.1635); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.93, repr. (c.1635); Drost, 1957, pp.168-9, verso repr. fig.194; Drost, 1960.I, p.217; Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, under no.11 (c.1635); van Gelder, 1961, p.151, n.24; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.25 (c.1635); van Regteren Altena, 1961, p.84, no.32; Volskaya, 1961, pp.54-55, both sides repr. fig.54 (c.1635); Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.38, repr. (c.1635); van de Waal, 1969, p.146 (1637-38?); van der Waals, 1969, p.103; Exh. Paris, 1970, under no.149; Haak, 1974, p.25 and no.15, repr. (c.1635); van de Waal, 1974, pp.74 and 82, n.16 (c.1637-38?); Bernhard, 1976, p.109 (c.1635); Albach, 1979, pp.9-14, repr. figs.11-12; Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, under nos.179x and 225x; Schatborn, 1981.II, no.81 and p.54, repr. fig.1-2; Exh. Amsterdam-Washington, 1981–2, no.81, repr.; London, 1983, under no.5; Amsterdam, 1985, no.8, repr. (mid-1630s); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92, no.12, repr.; Rosand, 2002, pp.235-6, repr. fig.222; Exh. Amsterdam, 2006, pp.60-62, repr. figs. 54-55 with detail of verso repr. p.4; Schatborn, 2019, nos 248 [recto] and 249 [verso], repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Purchased from the dealer Robert Dunthorne (fl. 1881-1930), London, by Dr Cornelis Hofstede de Groot (1863-1930), The Hague, 1909 (according to the latter’s notes in Koninklijk Bibliotheek); his sale, Leipzig, Boerner’s, 4 November 1931, lot 168, bt Colnaghi, DM 6,600; Isaäc de Bruijn (1872-1953) and his wife, Johanna Geertruida de Bruijn-van der Leeuw (1877-1960), Spiez and Muri, near Bern, 1932, by whom donated to the present repository, 1949, with usufruct; transferred in 1960 as part of the De Bruijn-van der Leeuw Bequest and inventoried in 1961.

[1] See Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985, no.8. He follows Albach, 1979 in pointing out that the role of Capitano also occurs in Gerbrand Bredero’s “Spaanse Brabander”.

[2] Loc.cit.. The word for a bag – ‘tas’ or ‘tasch’ – could also refer to a woman of easy virtue, or even to female genitalia.

First posted 24 September 2016.

 

Benesch 0293a

Subject: Studies of Actors in Dialogue

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

132 x 116 (arched top).

COMMENTS: Although a close imitation of Rembrandt’s style, the lines here are more akin to the ‘splintery’ approach of Govert Flinck (splintery without an energised sense of speed) and may be compared with Benesch 0280. The way the seven hands in the drawing are delineated vary but all are unlike Rembrandt’s formulations. Compare also Benesch 0061 and 0078-80. No doubt the drawing was made at a performance - one which both artists may have attended.

Condition: somewhat spotted; trimmed above.

Summary attribution: Govert Flinck?

Date: c.1638-40

COLLECTION: Private Collection, USA

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.293a, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0293-97 and Benesch 0218 and 0223; such studies may have inspired listeners in Berlin grisaille of St John the Baptist Preaching); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.10, repr. (c.1635); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: G. Delbanco (dealer), London; Otto Manley, Scarsdale, New York.

First posted 25 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0294

Subject: A Seated Actor in a Plumed Hat: Capitano from the Commedia dell’Arte

Verso: Sketch of the Head of the Seated Actor as Capitano

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso with inventory number.

185 x 144. Watermark: probably Strasburg Lily in a Shield (cut near the base of the escutcheon), with letters WR below.

COMMENTS: The drawing may have been made at the same performance (and even the same scene) as Benesch 0293 (qv), catching the actor in a different pose but still with his cloak draped over the back of a chair.[1] Yet the disparity of style eliminates Rembrandt as the drawing’s author. A comparison with Benesch 0204a and Benesch 0316, both of which display the same verve but with minimal variation in the pressure of the pen, suggest Gerbrand van den Eeckhout as the most likely candidate among Rembrandt’s pupils.[2] The iconography and date would be the same as for Benesch 0293 as presumably the artists attended the performance together.

Condition: generally good, though slightly yellowed, with some spotting and stains.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout?

Date: c.1636-40

COLLECTION: GB London, Courtauld Institute (Seilern Collection,inv.D.1978.PG.406)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, 1925-26, p.269; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.754, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.294, repr. (c.1635; based on a travelling English troupe); Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.11, repr. (c.1635; same actor and scene as Benesch 0293); V. Volskaya, in Isskustvo, 4, 1961, pp.54-60, seen as ‘Capitano’ from Commedia dell’Arte, the verso as Zanni); Van der Waal, 1969, , pp.146-47; London, 1971, no.406; Exh. London, 1981-82, no.177; Exh. London, 1983, no.5, repr. on cover (c.1635); Bevers, 2011, p.384, repr. fig.33 (by Jan Victors, comparing Bremen drawing, Sumowski 2336xx); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: John Bouverie (L.325 and addenda in Lugt online); Boehler (dealer); Colnaghi’s, London (dealer); Alverthorpe Gallery, Jenkintown, Pasadena; Lessing J. Rosenwald; Dorothy Monet Rosenwald; her sale, London, Sotheby’s, 6 July 1967, lot 8, bt Count Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978, as part of the Princes Gate Collection.

[1] As suggested in Exh. New York-Cambridge, 1960, no.11.

[2] Benesch 0316 was ascribed to van den Eeckhout by Bevers in Berlin, 2006, pp.196-97. See also Bevers, 2001, pp.61-62 and Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.16.2. His attribution in 2011 of Benesch 0294 to Jan Victors (see Literature) has yet to persuade me.

First posted 26 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0294A

Subject: A Quack on a Stage with a Parrot on his Shoulder

Medium: Pen and dark brown ink; a smudge near the extended hand. Inscribed by a later hand, lower left: "R"; on verso of the old mount in pen and brown ink: “Dear Cosway I beg the favour that you will take care of these Drawings for me. Wm Hq."

175 x 127. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: c.26h

COMMENTS: The figure resembles the character of Pantalone in the commedia dell’arte,[1] but is clearly a quack, symbolised by his parrot, practising his trade at an open market. One spectator is rapidly indicated at the lower left. While the sheet resembles some of Rembrandt’s studies of actors, he has here expended particular effort on characterising the face. Doubtless the figure was moving and Rembrandt attempted to pin down the pose with some emphasised profiles in the torso and legs, and especially the hat. Compare Benesch 0416, both for style and iconography. Among the documentary drawings, stylistic support is scant, though there are analogies with Benesch 0092 and Benesch 0164. Drawings by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout sometimes approach the style closely (cf. Benesch 0294 and the drawings compared with it).

Condition: generally good, though probably trimmed (e.g. at the top).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: A Vienna, Albertina (inv. 32765).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Vienna, 1958, no. 31; Benesch, 1960, no. 17; Van de Waal, 1969 (adds to Benesch's actors group); Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, no. 7; Exh. Milan, 1970, no. 10; Benesch, II, 1973, no. 294A, repr. fig.360 (c.1635); Exh. Vienna-Amsterdam, 1989-90, no. 41; Albach, 1979, p. 4, repr. fig.3; Exh. New York-Berlin, 1997-98, no.54; Exh. Berlin, 2002-3, p.186, under no. 76; Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.40; Exh. Milwaukee, 2005-6, no. 25, repr.; Exh. Vienna, 2013, no.150, repr. (c.1638-40); Schatborn, 2019, no.257, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London (dealer), from whom purchased by the present repository in 1957.[2]

[1] As noted by Bisanz-Prakken in Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.40.

[2] Benesch was himself the Director at the time.

First posted 27 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0295

Subject: An Actor in the Character of Pantalone, from the Commedia dell’Arte

Verso: Rapid Sketch of a Figure Seated on Horseback, from behind, turning around to right

Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower left corner, in pen and brown ink: “JCR” (L.1433); verso, top, in graphite: “0-18-0”; and centre: “Veiling Lanna 467 / f juznnje / Rembrdt”; below: “Um[?] /Auction frd. Muller+ Co / Amsterdam 20 Nov 82 / Cat.Nº.175 [monogram indecipherable] Coll. James / J.C.Robinson/298 298”; in pen and brown ink, lower left: “Rem”…:

193 x 130. Watermark: fragment – top of a crown; chain lines: 26h

COMMENTS: The drawing is likely to have been made at the same time as Benesch 0296, also of Pantalone and probably showing the same actor. Benesch 0297, drawn in the same style as the present work, shows the same or a similar actor again, wearing comparable clothes and accoutrements (purse, tube) but in a tall hat. The performances depicted have not been identified.

The proximity of style with Benesch 0294 recto reveals how similar Gerbrand van den Eeckhout’s drawings can be early in his career, but the grip on form here is more tangible. Links in style with the documentary drawings, Benesch 0092 and Benesch 0141, suggest a date in the mid-1630s, as for Benesch 0293.

The verso resembles in style Benesch 0264 verso. It has not been previously pubished except on the website of the Groninger Museum.[1]

A copy of the drawing was known to Sumowski when in the Schever collection, Zurich.[2]

Condition: generally good; recto slightly faded.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: NL Groningen, Groninger Museum (inv.1931-187).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Amsterdam, 1913, no.47; Kossmann, 1915, repr. opp. p.91 (an actor); Exh. Leiden, 1916, no.12; Hirschmann, 1917, p.9, repr.; Von Seidlitz, 1917, p.253, no.L12; Exh. Paris, 1921, no.64; Valentiner, 1925-26, p.270, repr. (erroneously as Hamburg, Kunsthalle); Exh. The Hague, 1930, I, no.83; Exh. Groningen, 1931, no.88; van Regteren Altena, 1931, p.71; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.755, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Gudlaugsson, 1945, p.29 (Pantalone); Exh. Groningen, 1952, no.63; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.295, repr. (c.1635; same actor in Benesch 0293 verso and Benesch 0296); Exh. The Hague, 1955, no.37; Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956, no.39; Exh. Brussels, 1961, no.59; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.23; Sumowski, 1961, p.5; Volskaya, 1961, p.56 (Pantalone); Exh. Ingelheim, 1964, no.62; Exh. London, 1964, no.107; Exh. Prague, 1966, no.88; Exh. Paris, 1967, no.157, repr.; Groningen, 1967, no.56, repr. p.182; Fuchs, 1968, p.37, repr. fig.59 (c.1636-38); Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.39; Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, under no.179x; Exh. Amsterdam, 1985-86, p.31, repr. fig.17; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-92.I, p.56, n.4, repr. fig.12b; Exh. Hamburg-Bremen, 2000-2001, under no.61, repr. fig.b; Golahny, 2003, p.248, n.12 (based on Callot); Schatborn, 2019, no.250, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Samuel Woodburn (dealer)?;[3] Andrew James; Miss James; J.C. Robinson (L.1433); his sale, Amsterdam, F. Muller, 20 November, 1882, lot 175; A. Thibaudeau?;[3] Adalbert von Lanna (L.2773); his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 6 May 1910, lot 467; C. Hofstede de Groot (inv.354, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1914 (no.91).

[1] Added here after accessing on 27 September 2020: https://collectie.groningermuseum.nl/webapi/wwwopac.ashx?command=getcontent&server=images&value=1931.0187b.jpg&imageformat=jpg

[2] Sumowski, loc. cit.

[3] Bolten, in Groningen, 1967, no.56, mentions this provenance, preceded by Thomas Lawrence and William Esdaile, but there is no sign of these collectors’ marks and the Woodburn provenance may therefore also be erroneous (see also Benesch 0508).

[4] Bolten, loc. cit., records a tradition that the drawing was in a Thibaudeau sale and points out that in his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 9 December 1889, lot 1108 there was a drawing described as ‘Figure of a Man in a large hat and cloak, pen and ink; from the Paignon Dijonval, Lawrence and Russell Collections’, which does not entirely fit the present drawing.

First posted 28 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0296

Subject: An Actor as Pantalone, standing, profile to left

Medium: Pen and brown ink and brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

182 x 118.

COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0295 and 0297, the representation of Pantalone was probably inspired to some degree by Jacques Callot’s etching of the same character made in c.1618-20 (Lieure 288). The pose of Benesch 0297 is especially close. Yet the likelihood is that Rembrandt was drawing from life at a market-fair performance, in which Pantalone’s usual characteristics were on display: the mask with hooked nose, the baton and purse, the wide hat and the posture slightly bent forward with one arm keeping back his cloak. See further the remarks to Benesch 0295.

Condition: generally good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: D Hamburg, Kunsthalle (inv.22417).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.348 (Jew in a Wide Hat”); Valentiner, 1925-26, p.268 (identifies as Pantalone); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.756, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.296, repr. (c.1635); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.38; Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.73; van Regteren Altena, 1957, pp.135-6; Exh. Hamburg, 1961, under no.49; Exh. Groningen, 1967, under no.56; Exh. Paris, 1967, no.156; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, under no.39; Haak, 1969, no.167, repr.; Exh. New York-Boston-Chicago, 1972-73, under no.87; Bernhard, 1976, repr. p.130; Albach, 1979, pp.2-32, repr. p.9; Exh. Amsterdam, 1985-86, pp.30-31; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-92.I, under no.12; Exh. Hamburg-Bremen, 2000-2001, no.61, repr.; Exh. Frankfurt, 2000, under no.56; Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.39, repr. (c.1635-39); Exh. Brussels, 2005, under no.60, repr. fig.1. (compares Benesch 0231); Schatborn, 2019, no.252, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: Georg Ernst Harzen bequest to the present repository, 1863.

First posted 29 September 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0296a

Subject: Bust of a Man in a Broad-Brimmed Hat

Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (?)

71 x 72.

COMMENTS: Compare for style Benesch 0656, which also has similar cross-hatching in the shadowed part of the brim of the hat. The splayed hand resembles that in the background of the same drawing. The same traits in the hat occur in Flinck's 'Musketeer' in Copenhagen (Benesch A33; Sumowski 953x as Flinck). Benesch himself compares Benesch 0296, which may have provided some inspiration to Flinck but the style differs.

The broad-brimmed hat might suggest that the model was Jewish (cf. the drawing, not in Benesch, on the Paris Art Market in 2016). What appear to be strands hanging from around his shoulders reinforce that impression, although a trailing collar also appears in the drawing of Pantalone (Benesch 0296), so the model's identity is far from certain.

Condition: cut from a larger sheet; some spots and stains.

Summary attribution: Govert Flinck?

Date: c.1640-45?

COLLECTION: USA, Los Angeles, Private Collection (Joseph and Deborah Goldyne)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. The Hague, 1930, II, no. 87; Valentiner, unpublished 3rd volume, no. 1241; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no. 296a, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0296); Exh. San Francisco-Minneapolis, 2006-7, no.3; [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Sir William Worsley; his sale, London, Sotheby’s , 4 May 1912, lot 299; Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot (L. 561); his sale, Leipzig, Boerner, November, 1931, lot 190; private collection; Brod Gallery, London (Art Dealer and Collector, Fourth International Exhibition presented by C.I.N.O.A., Amsterdams Historisch Museum, March 27-May 31, 1970, no. 74); sale, London, Sotheby’s, 23 March 1972, lot 7, bt Shickman Gallery, New York; Joseph and Deborah Goldyne (since 1972).

First posted 4 October 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0297

Subject: A Quack or an Actor in a High Hat

Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

162 x 87.

COMMENTS: The 'actor' may be a quacksalver, to judge by his resemblance to the main figure in Benesch 0416. Although there younger, and decked out with a parrot on his shoulder and elaborate feathers on his hat, in most other respects they are similar. Yet the links to Benesch 0295-96 are also close, so if an actor, he may have been playing Pantalone from the Commedia dell’Arte, although he here lacks the caricatural beak nose in his facial mask (he may not be wearing a mask at all). Stylistically, too, the drawing is not to be separated from Benesch 0295 (qv).

The quality of the drawing of the right hand suggests it is an addition by a ‘restorer’ – the figure may originally have been intended to have both his hands on his hips. A comparable type appears in the background of the etching, the Stoning of St. Stephen, of 1635.[1]

Condition: foxed.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1635-36.

COLLECTION: D Frankfurt, Staedel (inv.3089).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no. 334 (represents a Jew); Frankfurt, 1913, Lieferung 10; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.757, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.23; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.297, repr. (c.1635; same actor as Benesch 0295-6; model for background figure in etching of Stoning of St Stephen, Bartsch 97, NH 140); Exh. Frankfurt, 1994, p.136, no.57; Exh. Frankfurt, 2000, no.56, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, no.251, repr. (c.1636).

PROVENANCE: acquired by the present repository before 1862, presumably through G.D. Passavant.

[1] Benesch thought the drawing was the model for the etched figure.

First posted 5 October 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0298

Subject: Heads of Two Actors

Medium: Pen and brown ink.

105 x 122.

COMMENTS: Compared with Benesch 0293, the tempo is more moderato. Indeed it is rather uniform in the description of the details of the faces - both of them seen, rather uncharacteristically for Rembrandt, in precise profile - and in the strands of hair. A comparison with the heads in profile in Benesch 0327, with their greater variety of touch and enhanced sensitivity also undermines confidence in the attribution to Rembrandt.

The stronger, almost 'bravura' accents in the zigzag hatching (e.g. in the tall hat) resemble the slightly ‘runaway’ calligraphy of Benesch 0294 and 0299 and an attribution to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout seems more than likely. Although Rembrandt himself can occasionally veer in this direction in the mid-1630s (cf. the hatching in the documentary drawing, Benesch 0092), overall the former artist is clearly to be preferred.[1]

Condition: somewhat stained and spotted and with traces of old adhesive tape; otherwise generally good, though presumably trimmed from a larger sheet.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout?

Date: c.1636-40

COLLECTION: GB Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery (inv. 1979.494)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Borenius and Wittkower, no.427, repr. pl.XXVIII; Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.298, repr. (c.1635; compares Benesch 0293-97; perhaps actors from an English troupe); Manchester, 1965.I, no.56; Exh. Manchester, 1982.I, no.27, repr. pl.XXVI and on front cover; Exh. London, 1983, no.20, repr.; Manchester, 1983, no.53, repr. (c.1635); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Sir Robert Mond (L.2813a): J.F.M. Brackley; his sale, London, Christie’s, 6 July 1965, lot 93, repr, bt by Mrs E. Assheton-Bennett, by whom bequeathed to the present repository.

[1] On early, Rembrandtesque drawings by Van den Eeckhout, see Bevers, 2010.

First posted 24 October 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0299

Subject: Seated Man in a Barrett, full-length, profile to left

Verso: A Cavalier Greeting a Lady

Medium: Pen and brown ink, verso with brown wash and heightened with white; traces of framing lines in graphite (recto). Inscribed recto in pen and brown ink by a later hand, lower left and right: “Rembrant” “Vertè”; inscribed verso in pen and brown ink, lower right: “122”[?] and top left in graphite: “2” [?]

148 x 112.

COMMENTS: As noted by Benesch, both sides of the sheet seem to depict actors but the play seems unlikely to be identified.[1] Compare also the figures in Benesch 0264 and Benesch 0324.

The style of the recto marries so well with Benesch 0294 recto and the drawings with which it is compared (perhaps especially Benesch 0204a and 0324) that an attribution to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout seems inescapable. The figure’s pose may have been partly inspired by a number of Rembrandt’s earlier drawings, including Benesch 0293 and some earlier studies of seated figures from the Leiden period (cf. Benesch 0020 and the Seated Old Man [also in a Barrett] now in the Draiflessen collection [not in Benesch]).

With the verso, however, the situation is less simple: much of the drawing seems to lack Van den Eeckhout’s usual zest, but we retain his name for it as it still appears analogous to his style. The Phrygian-style headdress – characteristic of Van den Eeckhout - and other parts of the female figure seem to have been retouched and improved by a superior, delicate hand – could it be Rembrandt’s? Comparisons with this section may be made with the documentary drawing, Benesch 142, which is stylistically close and has a similar, if incipient figure on the verso. This regal figure (in Benesch 0299), whether in the present or another incarnation, may in turn have inspired Benesch 0550. Compare also Benesch 0318 and the drawing in Ulm, not in Benesch, ascribed to Van den Eeckhout.[2] Finally, the inscription with Rembrandt’s name on the recto is in the same handwriting as that on another, though later drawing attributed to Van den Eeckhout, now in Edinburgh.[3]

Condition: some stains and discolouration, but generally good.

Summary attribution: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (verso retouched by Rembrandt??).

Date: c.1636-40.

COLLECTION: F Paris. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (L.829a; inv. L.484, formerly Mas.1923)

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Paris, 1950, no. 484, repr. pl.LVII (Rembrandt? Verso of actors not by him); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.299, repr. (c.1635-36; recto and verso probably represent actors; recto compared with Benesch 0324, the verso to later [1639] etching, Death Appearing to a Couple, Bartsch 109, H 174); Exh. Paris, 1955, no.67; Volskaya, in Isskustvo, 4, 1961, pp.54-60 (recto identified as ‘Dottore?'); Exh. Paris, 1967, no.156; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.149; Albach, 1977, p.42, verso repr. fig.7 (glancingly suggests play depicted verso might be Pellagia en Romilius, 1644); Merten and Khortals , 1978, p.68; Albach, 1979, p.15, recto repr. fig.13; Exh. New York, 1996-96, under no.68, n.2 (comparing Benesch 0324); De Winkel, 2006, p.244 (clothes based on 16th-century models and not typical for the theatre of Rembrandt’s time); Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012-14, no.18, repr. (as attributed to Van den Eeckhout); [Not in Schatborn, 2019].

PROVENANCE: Anonymous collector (Graf Johannes von Ross? L.2693); Jean Masson (1856-1933; L.1494a), by whom presented to the present repository in 1925.

[1] See Albers, 1977, p.42, who cryptically and without argument associated the verso with Bernard Fonteyn’s “Pellagia and Romilius”, Amsterdam, 1644; Volskaya, 1961, thought the recto might be 'Dottore' from the Commedia dell'arte. De Winkel doubts that the figures are actors as the costumes depend on sixteenth-century models and were not typical of theatrical dress of Rembrandt’s time.

[2] Both drawings are discussed and repr. by Bevers, 2010, p.63 as by van den Eeckhout (respectively his figs.37 and 36).

[3] National Gallery of Scotland (Sumowski 743x, inv. D.2785).

First posted 30 October 2016.

 

 

Benesch 0300

Subject: Two Studies of Women with a Child

Medium: Pen and brown (iron-gall) ink, touched with the brush or rubbed with the finger; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed by Rembrandt in pen and brown ink, upper left: “een kindeken / met een oudt jack / op sijn hoofdken” [a small child with an old jacket on its little head]; top left, in graphite, by a later hand: “30.”

136 x 132. Watermark: fragment, Strasbourg lily with letters PR below, identical to the mark on Benesch 0407 (see Amsterdam, 1985, cat. no. 27, repr. p. 237 [mid-1640s]); similar to Ash and Fletcher 1998, variant E´.a., p. 201 (1637-1654); Churchill, no. 378 (1636); chain lines: 22v.

COMMENTS: The drawing may have belonged to the album of the lives of women and children (see under Benesch 0194).

The attribution appears to be confirmed by the autograph inscription by Rembrandt, clarifying the depiction of ‘a small child with an old jacket on its little head’, clearly what he saw on the left. The inscription confirms that the sketch was made from life - a lesson for those who have suggested that such studies may have been made from the imagination.

For the handwriting, the compiler has especially compared Rembrandt’s third letter to Constantijn Huygens of 12 January 1639 (in which e.g. the words ‘op’, ‘met’ and ‘met een’ are repeated) and the attribution does indeed appear to be secure (see comparative illustrations).[1] The orthography of the ‘p’ in ‘op’ seems particularly telling, as also the raised second ‘e’ of the word ‘met’ and the more closed second 'e' in the word 'een'.

The drawing thus almost has ‘documentary’ status, although it is not actually signed or connected with a securely attributed work. Nonetheless, its status seems sufficiently certain to use it as the starting-point to secure the attribution of a number of ‘broader nibbed’ drawings in iron-gall ink that seem to date from c.1639.[2] These include Benesch 0207, 0234a, 0237a, 0301, 0381, as well as some drawings dated c.1639 in the Not in Benesch section. The style was imitated by Rembrandt’s pupils in drawings such as Benesch 0200, 0209, 0210, 0211a and Benesch 0305.

The fragmentary sketch at the top is intriguing. It may repeat part of the lower arms of the figure immediately below, though it is hard to read.

Condition: generally good; cut from a larger sheet (note fragmentary drawing above).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1639.

COLLECTION: USA, Chapel Hill, Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina, The Peck Collection (inv.2017.1.64).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.300, repr. (c.1636; compares Benesch 0301); Lugt, Suppl., 1956, under no.1145 (see Provenance below); Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, p.605, repr.; Exh. Cambridge (Mass.), 1980-81, no.15; Vogel-Köhn, 1981, no.51, repr. (c.1639-40); Kitson, 1982, repr. fig.21 (1992 ed., fig.20); Exh. Cambridge (Mass.), 1984 (unpaginated); Exh. Boston, 2003, no.5, repr. (c.1640); Exh. Boston-Chicago, 2003-4, no.100, repr. in colour (late 1630s or early 1640s); Schatborn and Dudok van Heel, 2011, p.349, no.IX, repr. fig.159 (listed among drawings inscribed by Rembrandt); http://peckcollection.org/studies-of-a-woman-and-two-children (c.1640 [accessed 7 November 2016].); Schatborn, 2019, no.344, repr. (c.1639).

PROVENANCE: Dr Christian David Ginsburg (L.1145); inherited by a lady; her (anonymous) sale, London, Sotheby's, 29 July, 1924, lot 26 (with ‘Studies of Figures Pen and bistre 4in. by 2 ¼ in.’), bt Parsons, £13-10s.;[3] Victor Koch, London; Heinrich Eisemann, London and Zurich; Stefan Zweig, Vienna, London and Rio de Janeiro; his brother, Alfred Zweig, New York; his sale, New York, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 30 May, 1979, lot 81, bt Sheldon and Leena Peck, Newton, Massachussetts, by whom presented to the present repository, 2017.

[1] See Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, no.1639/2.

[2] It has been described as drawn in reed pen by Peck (Exh. Boston, 2003), but I do not think that this is the case (having tried my hand with a heavily charged quill pen)

[3] See Lugt, Suppl., 1956, under no.1145.

First posted 8 November 2016.

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