Apr 28, 2022 - Sale 2602

Sale 2602 - Lot 108

Price Realized: $ 30,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 50,000
Study of a Prophet or Apostle (St. Peter).

Pen and dark brownish black ink and wash on blue laid paper, circa 1634. 205x130 mm; 8 1/4x5 1/4 inches (irregular edges).

This drawing has recently been attributed to Rembrandt (1606-1669) by Martin Royalton-Kisch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, A Revision of Otto Benesch's Catalogue Raisonné, online catalogue, 2012-in progress (https://rembrandtcatalogue.net), as the original study of another drawing catalogued by Benesch as Rembrandt (Benesch 0124).

Royalton-Kisch notes, "In style it is reminiscent of works by Govert Flinck (1615-1660); yet the latter's Rembrandtesque drawings generally have a more hesitant or fragmented style, less fluid and confident than the approach here (cf. Benesch 0061-62 and Benesch 0079-80, as well as his Musketeer in Copenhagen, Sumowski 953x and Benesch 0656). Furthermore, there are analogies with Rembrandt's own works, especially with the documentary drawing of 1634 in the Burchard Grossmann album (Benesch 0257): the zigzag hatching to the right of the figure's feet resembles that in the right background of Benesch 0257; similarly, the hatching in the figure's drapery is generally a close match between the two drawings. The effect of the shading is subtler and less harsh than the shading in Flinck's drawings in Rembrandt's manner (cf. Benesch 0002, Benesch 0048 and Benesch 0111-12). The hooked line around the back of the collar that runs over the nearer shoulder also resembles Rembrandt's touch in the nearer sleeve of the Grossmann album drawing. The latter also employs an unusual 'blocking out' of the facial features with bold touches of the pen, which is not unlike the approach in the present drawing, although in Benesch 0257 the light rakes across the face, highlighting the features clearly, whereas here the light comes from behind the head, casting the face as a whole into shadow. This dark chiaroscuro, with the face almost in darkness, is a bold experiment; and the similarly inky-black shadows in the shoulder and in the nearer, right sleeve also have their counterparts in Benesch 0257, in the nearer sleeve and in both edges of the collar. A comparable effect occurs in Benesch 0049. In the present drawing, the contrasts appear stronger--blotchier, even--perhaps because of the darkened overall condition of the paper as well as the use of a darker shade of ink. On close inspection, the artist has left some glimmer of light in the nearer eye, on the further brow, and in the tip of the nose. The drapery sketch at the top left should be compared with Rembrandt's collar in Benesch 0432, which exhibits a similar approach with untouched areas firmly ‘closed' by strong and clear penlines (though the chiaroscuro is lessened here because of the drawing's condition). In sum, the attribution of the present drawing to Rembrandt rather than Flinck appears to be more than adequately supported by the stylistic evidence."

There are also similarities in this drawing to the extremely scarce, early, sketch-like etching of St. Peter and St. John at the Gate of the Temple: Roughly Etched, circa 1629 (Bartsch 95; New Hollstein 15).

Provenance: Private collection, Brittany, France; private collection, Pennsylvania.