Exhibition News: Original Rembrandt’s at Sotheby's Amsterdam
Rembrandt: the 17th-Century Photographer celebrates the artist’s exceptional draughtsmanship and unparalleled virtuosity as a printmaker, as well as his photographic eye – qualities that came together to generate an inventive and distinctly modern body of printed work. This singular approach provides a new way of looking at Rembrandt’s work: from his earliest prints, intimate and candid representations (indeed, antecedents to the 21st-century ‘selfie’), such as Self-Portrait in a Cap: Laughing and Self-Portrait open-mouthed, as if shouting: Bust, to the landscapes executed at the height of his career: The Three Trees (1643) for example, which reveals Rembrandt’s unprecedented ability to arrest atmospheric effects in monochromatic and linear form.
REMBRANDT HARMENSZ. VAN RIJN, VIEW FROM AMSTERDAM FROM THE KADIJK (B. Holl. 210; New Holl. 203. H. 176) Etching, circa 1642.
Comprising his most well-known and revered subjects, such as Saint Jerome beside a Pollard Willowand View of Amsterdam from the Kadjik, alongside extremely rare and unusual works, a maculature (a working impression, taken from the printing plate onto a clean sheet of paper, when there are still traces of ink left on it from a previous inking) of Jan Lutma, Goldsmith, for example, this exhibition provides a novel and multifaceted insight into Rembrandt’s graphic oeuvre.
REMBRANDT HARMENSZ. VAN RIJN, FRANCIS BENEATH A TREE PRAYING (B., HOLL. 107; NEW HOLL. 299; H. 292), DRYPOINT, 1657.
In addition to shining a light on Rembrandt’s extraordinary achievements, the exhibition is also a testimony to the unique vision of a passionate and learned collector. Over time, the owner became drawn to a lesser-explored facet of Rembrandt’s production: his ability to capture, with an etching needle, fleeting moments in time in much the same way as a photographer would. It is this particular aspect of Rembrandt’s work that has long fascinated the collector to whom this exception group of etchings belongs, informing many acquisitions over the years.
“Putting together this extraordinary collection has been a labour of love for the person behind it. When you look at these works, you feel you right there, caught up in the moment alongside the ‘photographer of his time’ in the way he captured scenes and situations as a photographer might do today. It is hugely exciting for us to be able to showcase Rembrandt’s etchings in a way that is both serious and fun. Of course, this is an artist whom we hold dear to our hearts, who in his humanity is as important to the visual world as Shakespeare is to the written word.”ALBERTINE VERLINDE, CHAIRMAN OF SOTHEBY’S NETHERLANDS
REMBRANDT HARMENSZ. VAN RIJN, SELF-PORTRAIT IN A CAP: LAUGHING (B., HOLL. 316; NEW HOLL. 70; H. 34), ETCHING AND DRYPOINT, 1630.
The only genuine companion pieces in Rembrandt’s printed oeuvre, A Peasant calling out: ’Tis vinnich Kout’, A Peasant replying ‘Dats Niet’, reveal the artist’s charming sense of humour. Roughly translated, the Peasant calling out complains, “Damned cold”, to which his friend retorts, “Call that cold?”
REMBRANDT HARMENSZ. VAN RIJN, A PEASANT CALLING OUT, ’TIS VINNICH KOUT’ (B., Holl. 177; New Holl. 131 H. 114), ETCHING AND DRYPOINT, 1657.
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