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REMBRANDT VAN RIJN Nude Man Seated on the Ground with One Leg Extended.
Etching and drypoint, 1646. 98x168 mm; 3 7/8x6 5/8 inches, small margins. Biörklund's second state (of 2); Usticke's second state (e) (of 4), with slightly rounded plate corners and traces of burr on the drapery folds; New Hollstein second state (of 3). A superb, early, richly-inked impression with crisp, partially inky plate edges and with warm plate tone; extremely scarce in this early state.
This is an early impression on China paper laid down to thin Japan paper. Hinterding records only one other early impression like the current work on China paper, now in the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig.
Hinterding notes that Rembrandt began to regularly use various Asian papers from around the late 1640s onward in his career. He writes that these papers had an "extremely regular, almost silk-like texture" were "generally yellower and brighter than western paper" and there was a "thinner, pale yellow variant generally referred to today as 'Chinese' paper. There has been very little research into its composition, but the results of a recent fiber analysis suggest that it may be gasenshi paper--a Japanese imiatation of Chinese calligraphy paper."
He continues, "These special types of paper must have cost Rembrandt a pretty penny, and not just because they were imported from the east. The plant that provided the raw material for the manufacture of gampi paper cannot be cultivated but has to be harvested in the wild, which made the paper very valuable, in Japan as well. For that reason alone, impressions on oriental paper can rightly be regarded as a 'de-luxe edition', although Rembrandt would have been mainly interested in the paper for its printing properties and features," (Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 2006, pages 112-14). Bartsch 196; Biörklund 46-C; Hollstein (White and Boon) 196.