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Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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Adriaen Backer
AMSTERDAM 1635 OR 1636 - 1684
A SHEET OF STUDIES OF HEADS, SOME GROTESQUE
Red chalk and wash;
signed and inscribed, along lower edge of sheet: deze Tronie Uijt 't Vier (?) Getekent door Adriaan Bakker. 
277 by 193 mm
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Provenance

William Bates (1824-1884), Birmingham (L.2604);
sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby's, 10 November 1998, lot 39,
where purchased by the late owner

Catalogue Note

Adriaen was the nephew of Jacob Backer, with whom he studied, apparently at rather a young age (Jacob Backer died in 1651).  Subsequently, Adriaen spent some years in Italy, before returning to Amsterdam, where he was married in 1669 and died in 1684. He worked extensively as a portrait painter, but also received commissions for historical and religious compositions, including one for a ceiling painting for the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.  Hardly any drawings by him are known.  The only example of a chalk drawing in the photographic records of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague, is a signed and dated portrait (self-portrait?) of 1671, which is itself in the collection at the RKD; although the RKD drawing is very different from the present sheet in terms of subject-matter, the handling of the chalk is very comparable, as is the handwriting in the signature.

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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London