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Gallery Text

According to an early biographer, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout was Rembrandt’s “great friend and favorite pupil.” He was also the most versatile draftsman among Rembrandt’s students and close followers. His two hundred surviving drawings, executed in a wide range of media, represent biblical compositions, genre scenes, portraits, figure studies, landscapes, and designs for book illustrations, ornamental engravings, and goldsmith work. Woman Doing Handwork belongs to a group of about 18 drawings, similarly executed with the brush in finely graduated tones of brown wash, that are remarkable for their delicate, economical technique and contemplative mood. Except for a sheet with three studies of a dog, all of them represent single figures. Seated or reclining, they read, smoke, perform simple household tasks, daydream, or stare intently at the viewer.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
25.1998.55
People
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Dutch (Amsterdam, Netherlands 1621 - 1674 Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Title
Woman Doing Handwork; verso: Landscape [by a later hand]
Other Titles
Alternate Title: A Woman Sewing
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1655
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Brown ink and brown wash on cream antique laid paper; verso: red chalk
Dimensions
17.9 x 14.6 cm (7 1/16 x 5 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: J. 4898
  • watermark: fragment of a foolscap with a seven-pointed collar
  • collector's mark: lower left, red ink, stamp: L. 1508 (John Postle Heseltine)
  • collector's mark: lower left, black ink, stamp: L. 1450 (Jacob de Vos Jacobszoon)
  • collector's mark: former mount, black ink, stamp: L. 2811b (Carl Robert Rudolf)
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: d.J / N62 / Mol
  • clipping: cut out from sale catalogue, inserted into current mat: G. VAN DER EECKHOUT / 222. Une Femme qui file du lin; chef-d'oeuvre; a l'encre / brune

    in brown ink on label: Coll. van Cranenburgh, 1858 f r.t.
Provenance
H. van Cranenburgh, Amsterdam, sold; [Roos and De Vries, Amsterdam, 26 October 1858 and following days, port. I, lot 223]; to De Vries. Jacob de Vos Jacobszoon, Amsterdam (L. 1450, lower left), sold; [Van Dijk, Amsterdam, 22-24 May 1883, lot 163, erroneously citing lot 222 in the Cranenburgh sale]; to [Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau, London]. John Postle Heseltine, London (L. 1508, lower left), sold; [Sotheby’s, London, 27-29 May 1935, lot 166]; to Frits Lugt, traded 1 January 1936; to Carl Robert Rudolf, London (L. 2811b, former mount), sold; via E. Jacobs to Maida and George Abrams, 1975 (L. 3306, verso, lower left); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Promised Gift, 25.1998.55
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Promised Gift
Object Number
25.1998.55
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Arthur Mayger Hind, Catalogue of Drawings by Dutch and Flemish Artists Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: Vol I: Drawings by Rembrandt and His School, British Museum (London, England, 1915), vol. 1, under cat. no. 145, p. 51

Karl T. Parker and James Byam Shaw, Drawings by Old Masters, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts (London, 1953), cat. no. 332, p. 81

C. R. Rudolf, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr. C. R. Rudolf, Arts Council of Great Britain, London (London, England, 1962), cat. no. 98, p. 20

Wolfgang Wegner, Die niederlandischen Handzeichnungen des 15.-18. Jahrhunderts (Katalogue der Staatlichen Graphischen Sammlung, Munchen), Mann (Berlin, Germany, 1973), vol. 1, under cat. no. 1216, p. 178

A.W.F.M. Meij, ed., Dessins flamands et hollandais du dix-septième siècle: collections Musées de Belgique, Musée Boymans-Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Institut Néerlandais, Paris, exh. cat., Institut Néerlandais (Paris, 1974), under cat. no. 33, pp. 48-49

Franklin W. Robinson, Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, exh. cat., International Exhibitions Foundation (Washington, D.C, 1977), cat. no. 61, pp. 64-65, repr. fig. 61

Rembrandt and His Century: Dutch drawings of the seventeenth century from the collection of Frits Lugt, exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library (New York, 1978), under cat. no. 35, pp. 54-55

Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, ed. Walter Strauss, Abaris Books (New York, NY, 1979), vol. 3, cat. no. 796x, pp. 1714-15, repr. p. 1715, and under cat. nos. 782x, p. 1686, and 795x, p. 1712

William W. Robinson, "[Review] Werner Sumoski: Drawings of the Rembrandt School, vols. 1-3", Master Drawings (Autumn 1982), vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 280-285, p. 285

George Abrams, "Collectors and Collecting", Drawings Defined, ed. Walter Strauss, Abaris Books (New York, 1987), pp. 415-429, p. 422, repr. fig. 7

William W. Robinson, Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., H. O. Zimman, Inc. (Lynn, MA, 1991), cat. no. 55, pp. 128-9, repr.

George S. Keyes, "[Review] Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings. A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection", Master Drawings (Winter 1992), vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 443-448, p. 446

Daniel Gross, "Dutch Treats", Harvard Magazine (Cambridge, MA, September-October 1992), vol. 95, no. 1, pp. 41-45, p. 42, repr. cover and p. 3 (detail)

Mària van Berge-Gerbaud, Rembrandt et son école: Dessins de la collection Frits Lugt, exh. cat., Fondation Custodia (Paris, 1997), under cat. no. 58, p. 132 (n. 1)

Dutch, Flemish, and German Old Master Drawings, auct. cat. (Amsterdam, November 10, 1999), under lot 337, p. 27

Seymour Slive, "Collecting 17th-century Dutch art in the United States: the current boom", Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum (2001), vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 84-99, p. 97 (n. 11)

William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 50, pp. 126-27 and 257-58, repr.

Jeanne Faton, "Entretien avec George Abrams: Dessins de l'âge d'or hollandais", L'Estampille/L'Objet d'art (April 2003), no. 379, pp. 46-55, repr. p. 51

Michiel C. Plomp, "[Review] Bruegel to Rembrandt. Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection.", Oud Holland (2004), vol. 117, no. 1/2, pp. 99-102, p. 101 (n. 3)

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2002-2003 (Cambridge, MA, 2004), repr. p. 41

Jane Turner and Felice Stampfle, Dutch Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library, Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries, Pierpont Morgan Library (New York, 2006), vol. 1, under cat. no. 73, p. 65 (n. 1)

Fronia E. Wissman, "Knitting and Fine Art: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Woman Doing Handwork", Interweave Knits (Winter 2007), p. 10, repr.

Holm Bevers, Lee Hendrix, William W. Robinson, and Peter Schatborn, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Pupils: Telling the Difference, exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, 2009), under cat. no. 16.2, p. 123 (notes 1 and 7)

Catalogue of Drawings by Rembrandt and his School in the British Museum, website, British Museum, 2010, under cat. no. Eeckhout.9

Peter C. Sutton and William W. Robinson, Drawings by Rembrandt, his Students and Circle from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Bruce Museum and Yale University Press (New Haven and London, 2011), cat. no. 35, pp. 11, 32 and 108-9, repr.

Stijn Alsteens, [Review] William W. Robinson, with Susan Anderson, "Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums", Master Drawings (Winter 2015), LIII, no. 4, pp. 531-534, pp. 531-532

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), pp. 20-21; cat. no. 32, pp. 121-123, repr. p. 122

Exhibition History

Drawings by Old Masters, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 08/13/1953 - 10/25/1953

Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr. C. R. Rudolf, Arts Council Gallery, London, London, 01/05/1962 - 02/03/1962; City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 02/17/1962 - 03/11/1962; Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, 03/17/1962 - 04/07/1962

Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 01/30/1977 - 03/13/1977; Denver Art Museum, Denver, 04/01/1977 - 05/15/1977; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 06/01/1977 - 07/15/1977

Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 02/23/1991 - 04/18/1991; Albertina Gallery, Vienna, 05/16/1991 - 06/30/1991; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 01/22/1992 - 04/22/1992; Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/10/1992 - 12/06/1992

A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions of Prints and Drawings from 1480 to 1940, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/25/2000 - 07/02/2000

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, British Museum, London, 06/13/2002 - 09/22/2002; Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 10/10/2002 - 12/08/2002; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

Drawings by Rembrandt, his Students and Circle from the Collection of Maida and George Abrams, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, 09/24/2011 - 01/08/2012; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 04/15/2012 - 07/08/2012

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu