At the painting’s first appearance on the art market in Utrecht in 1839, it was attributed to Brouwer but described as a “portrait of a man.” By the 1926 sale of E. Warneck’s collection, to which this picture belonged, it was “presumed” to be a self-portrait by Brouwer. In an expertise letter dated 16 December 1928, Ludwig Burchard notes that even during that auction, he firmly believed the picture to be Brouwer’s self portrait, and felt that cleaning the panel only strengthened his case. He connected the portrait to a drawing of Brouwer by Jan Lievens and dated it to the end of Brouwer’s career, just before his death in 1638. At the 1956 Fischer exhibition, the painting was again labeled “presumed” self-portrait, but a year later in the Fischer sale, it sold as Brouwer in full. Julius Held expressed his admiration for the picture in a letter dated 20 October 1963, calling it an “excellent work,” and as late as 1984, scholars of Flemish art confirmed the attribution to Brouwer and the resemblance with Van Dyck’s portrait of Brouwer.
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