491
491
Willem Drost
SELF PORTRAIT AS A YOUNG MAN, HEAD AND SHOULDERS
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 298,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
491
Willem Drost
SELF PORTRAIT AS A YOUNG MAN, HEAD AND SHOULDERS
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 298,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings & Sculpture Day Sale

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Willem Drost
AMSTERDAM 1633 - 1659 VENICE
SELF PORTRAIT AS A YOUNG MAN, HEAD AND SHOULDERS
signed lower right with the initial: D. ƒ
oil on oak panel
28.6 by 23.8 cm.; 11 1/4  by 9 3/8  in.
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Provenance

Comte de Dampierre d'Hornoy, Paris;
With Frederik Mont, New York, 1968;
With Thos. Agnew and Son, Ltd., 1982;
C.C. Cunningham, Senior;
By whose estate sold, London, Sotheby's, 6 July 1983, lot 81;
There purchased by Dr Hinrich Bischoff, Berlin;
By inheritance to the present owner. 

Exhibited

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago; Minneapolis, Institute of Arts; Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years, 1969-70, no. 39;
London, Thomas Agnew & Son, Ltd., Master Paintings 1470-1820, 18 May-30 July 1982, no. 34;
Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Holländische Malerei aus Berliner Privatbesitz, 1984, no. 14;
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, on loan 1986-2001 (inv. no. Dep. 523). 

Literature

B.A. Rifkin, "Rembrandt and his circle", in Art News, LXVIII, 1969, p. 58 (where given to either Van Gherwen or Paudiss);
H. Gerson, "The Rembrandt Exhibitions of 1969", in The Burlington Magazine, vol. III, 1969, 782;
W. Sumowski, "Beiträge zu Willem Drost", in Pantheon, vol. XXIX, 1969, pp. 372, 378, reproduced;
K. Langedijk, "Das Selbstbildnis von Willem Drost in Florenz", in Journal of the Art History Institute of Florence, XXII, 1978, p. 365, note 11, reproduced plate 11;
W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, Landau/Pfalz 1983, vol. I, pp. 610, 616, cat. no. 334, reproduced;
I. Becker (ed.), Hollädische Malerei aus Berliner Privatbesitz, exhibition catalogue, Berlin 1984, p. 34, cat. no 14, reproduced;
E. Mai, "Zuschreibungsfragen. Neue Erkenntnisse zum Werk von Kalf, Victors, Hoogstraten", in Kölner Museums-Bulletin. Berichte und Forschungen aus den Museen der Staadt Köln, vol. II, 1988, p. 18;
J. Foucart, Peintures rembranesques au Louvre, exhibition catalogue, Paris 1988-9, p. 95;
K. Langedijk, Die Selbstbildnisse der Holländischen und Flämischen Künstler in der Galleria degli Autoritratti der Uffizien in Florenz, Florence 1992, p. 35;
B. S[chnackenburg], in E. Mai (ed.), Des Kabinett des Sammlers, Cologne 1993, pp. 108-11, reproduced;
W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, Landau–Pfalz 1983, vol. VI, (1994), p. 3598;
J. Bikker, Willem Drost (1633-1658).  A Rembrandt pupil in Amsterdam, Rome and Venice, dissertation, Utrecht 2001 (english transcript), pp. 121-2, no. 22;
E.A. Safarik, "I volti di Willem Drost", in Per l'arte da Venezia all'Europa. Studi in onore di Giuseppe Maria Pilo da Rubens al Contemporaneo, M. Panti and L. de Rossi eds., Venice 2001, pp. 406, 657;
J. Bikker, Willem Drost (1633-1659). A Rembrandt Pupil in Amsterdam and Venice, New Haven & London 2005, pp. 95-6, cat. no. 21, reproduced. 

Catalogue Note

Willem Drost was an important member of Rembrandt's workshop, but very little is known about his life. The seventeenth century art historiographer Arnold Houbraken, who does not give his Christian name, merely says Drost was a pupil of Rembrandt and lived for a long time in Rome where he was friendly with Johann Carl Loth and Jan van der Meer of Utrecht. His dated pictures of 1653 and 1654 are related to Rembrandt's work of the early 1650s and confirm Houbraken's statement that Drost was his pupil. His earliest known work is an etching of 1652 (signed w drost 1652) that is also considered a Self Portrait. In the present treatment, Drost's smallest known work, the young artist employs a subtle palette of earthy browns and warm flesh tones which create an intimacy and psychological seriousness in the manner of his master. The loose manner and broad brushstrokes very clearly emulate the virtuoso work of Rembrandt's mature period.

The attribution to Drost has never been questioned, save for Benjamin Rifkin's 1969 alternative suggestion to Paudiss or Van Gherwen. Jonathan Bikker included the work in his 2005 monograph where he convincingly compared the panel to other portraits by Drost, notably a picture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. no. 41.116.2), which utilizes similar "thin, arched eyebrows, almond eyes, long nose and thin lips with dimples on either side".The technique of contrasting coarse, thickly applied passages such as those in the hair and shirt with other thin areas (to the degree that much of the ground is exposed) is also consistent with Drost's male portraits from around this time, notably Bust of a Man Wearing a Large-Brimmed Beret (Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland). Furthermore, Drost's seemingly arbitrary and spontaneous flicks of paint of varying colors --visible in the hair and shirt--are consistent with other pictures from this moment. 

A number of scholars compare the immediacy and sketchy quality of this self portrait with that of Carel Fabritius' example in the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam. Bikker draws attention to the relaxed nature of the pose and dress in both works, as well as the particularly sketchy and personalized nature of each painting as points of comparison in positively identifying this work as a self portrait. The costume of Fabritius there, described by Bikker as "working dress" is also found in self-portraits by Rembrandt.2

1. See literature, Bikker 2005, p. 21. 
2. Ibid. 

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