Studio of Rembrandt van Rijn

Studio of Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 - 1669 Amsterdam)

Portrait of Rembrandt with a Gold Chain, c.1630

Oil on panel, 45.6 x 39.5 cm

Provenance:
Bertram Francis Gurdon, 2nd Baron Cranworth (1877-1964)
London, Christie’s, anonymous sale [Lord Belper et al.], 11 April 1919, lot 56
London, Sotheby’s, auction sale [The Rt. Hon. Lord Cranworth], 24 March 1920, lot 72
London, Sotheby’s, auction sale [The Rt. Hon. Lord Cranworth and Lady Cranworth], 30 May 1934, lot 127[1]

Sir Bernard Eckstein, 2nd Baronet (1894-1948)
London, Sotheby’s, 21 June 1950, lot 76[2]

Hallsborough Gallery, London (purchased at the sale above for £320)
Vogel-Brunner Gallery, Lucerne
Ottfried Bandlin, Bern, and Herr and Frau Zellweger, Thun[3]

Gottfried Wirz, Geneva (entrusted with the sale on behalf of Ottfried Bandlin)
London, Christie’s, 27 May 1960, lot 25[4]

Private collection, Switzerland

Exhibited:
Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2013-4 (as Isaac de Jouderville)

Literature:
Hofstede de Groot, Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten Holländischen Maler des XVII Jahrhunderts, Esslingen 1915, VI, no. 552 (probably identical with the work mentioned, then with the English art market)
Jose Pijoan, Summa Artis. Historia General del Arte, XV, Madrid 1952, p. 385, plate XIX
Abraham Bredius, Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings, revised by Horst Gerson, London 1969, p. 547, no. 7 (discussed as a copy after painting no. 7)
Josua Bruyn et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings: 1625-1631, The Hague 1982, I, pp. 640-4, no. C36, copy 1, figs. 3 and 4

 

The features of one of the finest painters in art history are widely familiar through the numerous self-portraits he executed. The present portrait features Rembrandt (1606-69) at the age of about twenty-five. He is wearing a colourful neck scarf and a gold link chain which gleams against his dark coat. The self-confident young painter’s star was rising fast at the time.

Rembrandt had no difficulty in finding assistants for his flourishing workshop. Some were given the task of copying his paintings. This practice was an important and challenging part of their education. It improved their painting skills and provided Rembrandt with the opportunity to sell a greater number of paintings. The quality of these copies, executed under guidance and sometimes even with corrections by Rembrandt himself, was such that even today it is in some cases uncertain whether they were painted by the master himself, or by one of his pupils.

This portrait of Rembrandt was traditionally considered to be an autograph self-portrait until in the 1970s scholarly opinion changed. Since then, it has come to be regarded as a copy after a Rembrandt self-portrait, executed by one of his pupils in Rembrandt’s studio in the years around 1630. Sadly, the present whereabouts of the original self-portrait are unknown. The present copy is listed in the Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, the catalogue raisonné of his work.[5]

Extensive research has been conducted into the painting and leading experts in the field have been consulted. They have examined the painting and are favourably impressed by its quality. Up to now it had only been known to them from a black and white photograph. They have unanimously confirmed the authenticity of the work and date it to the years around 1630.

Professor Dr. Ernst van de Wetering, chairman of the Rembrandt Research Project, inspected the painting in Amsterdam. He has expressed the view that it was executed in Rembrandt’s studio and dates it to circa 1630.

The late Professor Dr. Werner Sumowski, a Rembrandt scholar of international renown and author of numerous studies on the Rembrandt School, shared Professor van de Wetering’s opinion. Furthermore, he firmly attributed the work to Isaac de Jouderville, emphasizing the similarities with Jouderville’s Portrait of a Man (NGI. 433) now in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

Dr. Albert Blankert, an independent scholar and one of the world’s leading Rembrandt specialists, attributes the painting to Isaac de Jouderville and dates it to circa 1631. His extensive report on the painting is available on request.

Detailed technical examination and analysis of the painting support a dating of circa 1630. A scientific report compiled by Professor Dr. Peter Klein, University of Hamburg, a renowned specialist on dendrochronology, is available on request.


[1] Offered with a note reading: ‘This picture is mentioned in a letter from Sir William Cook to his father-in-law, Mr. Thoraugh Gordon, dated 27 March 1700, as being by Rembrandt’.

[2] Accompanied by photocopies of certificates from Dr. Binder (1930), Leo van Puyvelde (1950), Dr. Ludwig Baldass (1952) and Professor Joseph Pijoan (1952).

[3] Purchased from the Vogel-Brunner Gallery on 2 July 1952 for 48,000 Swiss Francs, as ‘attributed to Rembrandt’.

[4] According to information supplied by the previous owner, Gottfried Wirz declined an after-sale offer of £650.

[5] Josua Bruyn et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings: 1625-1631, The Hague 1982, I, pp. 640-4, no. C36, copy 1, figs. 3 and 4.

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