87
87
School of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
HEAD OF AN OLD WOMAN WEARING A TURBAN
Estimate
7,0009,000
LOT SOLD. 27,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
87
School of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
HEAD OF AN OLD WOMAN WEARING A TURBAN
Estimate
7,0009,000
LOT SOLD. 27,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Drawings

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New York

School of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
HEAD OF AN OLD WOMAN WEARING A TURBAN

Provenance

Tobias Christ, Basel,
his sale, London, Sotheby's, 9 April 1981, lot 26, reproduced (as Rembrandt),
where acquired by the present owner

Exhibited

Basel, Kunstmuseum, Rembrandt, 1937, no. 183 (as Rembrandt)

Literature

(In all cases as Rembrandt)
K. Bauch, Die Kunst des Jungen Rembrandt, Heidelberg 1933, p. 220;
O. Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, London 1954, vol. II, no. 378, reproduced fig. 149;
M. Kaczanowska, 'Reminiscencje Sztuki Rembrandta w Tworczosci Daniela Chodowieckiego', Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, Warsaw 1961, p. 358, note 15;
O. Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, London 1973, vol. II, no. 378, reproduced fig. 454

Catalogue Note

Otto Benesch, who believed this drawing to be by Rembrandt himself, dated it to around 1638.  Current scholars, though agreeing that the drawing is of the highest quality, are, however, less inclined to accept the traditional attribution, although no-one has yet suggested a plausible alternative. Rembrandt's delight in hats, caps, and turbans is especially revealed throughout his drawings, and enlivens the figures in his paintings.  This woman could appear in one of his Biblical compositions; Hagar, in an etching of 1637, wears a similar headdress (Bartsch 30). 

In Rembrandt's drawings, the looping strokes and the sparing yet powerful use of wash have many parallels in other works of the later 1630s. Heads such as this appear on several composite sheets consisting of several similar studies.  Perhaps the finest Rembrandt drawing of this type is the magnificent sheet in the Abrams collection, but others, such as the sheet in the Barber Institute, Birmingham, also demonstrate similar qualities.1  In all these drawings, we see evidence of a strong desire to capture, in authoritative fashion, the character of the figure in question, and all other aspects of the drawing seem to take second place to this driving motivation. 

Though small in scale, this well preserved study, with its typically varied use of pen and wash, encapsulates both Rembrandt's primary interests in terms of subject matter and his ability to instill in his best pupils some of the technical originality of this crucial phase of his career.  That the drawing has remained in the same private collection since sold from the Christ Collection in 1981 is an added bonus.  

1. Benesch, op. cit., nos. 339-340

Old Master Drawings

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New York