Hendrick Goltzius Mülbracht (Bracht-am-Niederrhein) 1558 - 1617 Haarlem
- Hendrick Goltzius
- Standing Woman with a Veil
- signed upper centre with monogram HG and dated Ao. 90.
- pen and brown ink and white heightening on the verso of a playing card (the seven of hearts) prepared with a light brown ground; within black ink framing lines
Freiherr C. Rolas du Rosey, his sale, Leipzig, 5 September 1864, lot 4526;
J.O. Entres, his sale, Munich, 16 March 1868, lot 237;
E. Fabricius, Berlin (L.847a);
Dr. Arthur Feldmann, Brno, Czechoslovakia (see also the following lot and lots 169-170),
by whom sold, Lucerne, Gilhofer and Ranschburg, 28 June 1934, lot 117, reproduced, plate XII (unsold);
looted by the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia;
sale, London, Sotheby's, 16 October 1946, lot 42, together with another drawing (£24, to A. Scharf, London, from whom purchased, 1949);
Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (L. 2228);
restituted to the heirs of Arthur Feldmann in 2007
K.G. Boon, Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, vol. II of the Catalogue of the Dutch and Flemish Drawings in the Rijksmuseum, The Hague 1978, vol. I, p. 90, no. 261, reproduced vol. II, p. 95
Goltzius drew the Standing Woman with a Veil during a period of great creativity, when he was inspired by an earlier generation of artists in the Netherlands and Italy and dealing with the issues of colour and tone. He must have executed the drawing shortly before his departure for Italy in October of 1590, but the figure itself owes more to the north. The drawing is probably the first example of Goltzius's turning to the style and subject matter of Lucas van Leyden and Dürer and reworking them in his own vision. In the later 1590s he made a number of Old Testament subjects, genre scenes and fantasy figures such as this, all in a similar archaizing style,which include the Unequal Pair in Berlin (Reznicek1 192) and Solomon's Idolatry in the Fondation Custodia, Paris (Reznicek 13).
The Woman with a Veil is also clearly related to Goltzius's chiaroscuro woodcuts and his line block woodcuts on coloured paper. Reznicek, in fact, described it as a combination of drawing and printing - the figure and background executed by hand and the white heightening printed.2 The long somewhat irregular hatching lines prefigure his series of Four Small Landscapes (Bialler 49-52)3, of circa 1597 in the way they chart the forms, defining the surface and creating a sense of volume. However, in both drawing and prints, Goltzius is primarily dealing with the issue of how to balance line and tone. He choses a coloured background as the midtone - brown in the drawing and blue in the prints - while the dark outline carries the major elements of the composition and the white provides the highlights.
But this drawing predates the landscape woodcuts by six or seven years, as it does his fantasy figures. Perhaps it was an idea Goltzius had in a burst of energy, but then got involved pursuing other avenues during his trip to Italy. Certainly the experimental nature of the drawing is reinforced by its having been executed on the back of a playing card. However, he returned to the subject of the Standing Woman in the mid 1590s in a more loosely drawn work in the Beer Collection, Copenhagen (Reznicek 295). As for the issue of colour and tone, he continued to explore these with great success in both his woodcuts and drawings, and after 1600 in his paintings.
1. E.K.J. Reznicek, Die Zeichnungen von Hendrick Goltzius, Utrecht 1961, vol. I
2. Reznicek, op. cit., p. 401; Boon op. cit., p. 90, later corrected this to say that the white was added with a brush.
3. N. Bialler, Chiaroscuro Woodcuts: Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) and His Time, Amsterdam and Ghent 1992