May 06, 2021 - Sale 2566

Sale 2566 - Lot 106

Price Realized: $ 2,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
Abraham Francen, Apothecary.

Etching, circa 1657. 156x208 mm; 6 1/8x8 1/4 inches, thread margins. Biörklund's ninth state (of 10), however with the slipped stroke on the left cheek from the eighth state still distinct; Usticke's seventh state (of 9); White and Boon's ninth state (of 10). A very good, dark and richly-inked impression, with burr on Francen's right thumb, on the open book and on the statue and skull at the far left and on the windowsill, with the landscape through the window and all the delicate details distinct and with little to no sign of wear.

Francen (1612-after 1678) was a close friend of Rembrandt and a lifelong resident of Amsterdam (though records of the various addresses in the city where he lived indicate that he was not a particularly wealthy collector). He was a passionate connoisseur of art, which Rembrandt alludes to with the Crucifixion triptych and the landscape painting on the wall of Francen's study, as well as the Taoist sculpture on the table.

Francen testified for Rembrandt and helped support him through his financial difficulties in the 1650s and 1660s; he also acted as a sort of guardian for Rembrandt's children. Rembrandt likely made this etched portrait of Francen out of friendship rather than as a paid commission. Bartsch 273; Biörklund 57-2; Hollstein (White and Boon) 273.