Abraham de Vries' reputation as a portrait painter was known throughout much of Europe in the first half of the seventeenth century. Not only was he active in the Dutch Republic, but also in Antwerp, Brussels, and much of France, where he first came in contact with Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Periesc (1580-1637), an important French collector and patron of De Vries who likely introduced the artist to his friend, Peter Paul Rubens, in 1629 in Paris. De Vries' early works display the influence of fellow Dutch artists like Thomas de Keyser and Jan van Ravesteyn, and those of from about 1620-1630 highlight the influence of Flemish artists from Antwerp, as visible in his portrait of the Antwerp painter, Simon de Vos.1
Yet, by the 1640s, when the present work was painted, the impact of Rembrandt's portrait style is evident. Although the identity of the gentleman in this portrait is unknown, his affable character seems to emanate from his engaging visage, defined by his crisp blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and distinct goatee.
1. Oil on canvas, 121 by 92 cm., dated 1635, Antwerp, Maagdenhuismuseum, inv. no. 146602.