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Gallery Text

When Goltzius, an internationally famous engraver of virtuoso prints, traveled to Italy in 1590–91, he was, according to his friend and biographer Karel van Mander, “recognized . . . by the artists [in Rome], the most renowned of whom he portrayed with cryons, as he also did in Florence, Venice, and in Germany.” The term cryons probably denotes both natural and fabricated chalks. Eight of the large, bust-length portraits Goltzius produced in Munich and Italy, including this one, have survived. All are executed predominantly in red and black chalk and depict the subjects’ faces, eyes, and hair with a naturalism and pictorial breadth unprecedented in European portrait drawings. Some of the artists portrayed by Goltzius have been identified, but the identity of the sitter for this work remains elusive.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Hendrick Goltzius, Netherlandish (Mühlbracht 1558 - 1617 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Portrait of a Man
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Black, red, and ocher chalk, and gray wash, some incised lines, silhouetted, on cream antique laid paper, framing line in black ink
36.3 x 27.2 cm (14 5/16 x 10 11/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • watermark: mount: Fragment of a Strasbourg bend, Churchill 429
  • inscription: verso, lower right, brown ink: Ao. 1591
  • collector's mark: verso, lower right, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
  • inscription: mount, verso, upper right, graphite: no 14
  • inscription: verso, lower right, reddish-brown ink: Jan... [?, then illegible words]
  • inscription: verso, lower right, greenish-brown ink, written over "Jan...": L. ne[?]t[?] HG
Probably Mrs. Rita M. Johnson, probably sold [Christie’s, London, 29 March 1966, lot 240.] [Bernard Houthakker Gallery, Amsterdam] sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1966 (L. 3306, verso, lower right); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, 1999.141
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Master Drawings Exhibited by Bernard Houthakker, auct. cat. (Amsterdam, 1966), cat. no. 21, repr.

Franklin W. Robinson, ed., Things of this World: A Selection of Dutch Drawings from the Collection of Maida and George Abrams, exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, MA, 1972), cat. no. 11, pp. 13 and 47-48, repr. p. 30

C. White, "Review of Things of this World", Master Drawings (1973), vol. 11, no. 4, p. 403, p. 403

[Reproduction only], Reproduction only, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, (Paris, September 1973)., repr. p. 20, fig. 20

Frima Fox Hofrichter, Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century, exh. cat., Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum (New Brunswick, NJ, 1983), cat. no. 51, pp. 86-87, repr.

Frederik J. Duparc, "[Review] Collectie Abrams in Rijksprentenkabinet", Tableau (1991), vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 40-42, p. 41

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. 3, pp. 24-25, repr.

Emil Karel Josef Reznicek, "Drawings by Hendrick Goltzius, Thirty Years Later: Supplement to the 1961...", Master Drawings (Autumn 1993), vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 215-278, cat. no. K 304a, p. 255, repr. p. 254, fig. 52

Fiamminghi a Roma 1508-1608. Artistes des Pays-Bas et de la Principaute de Liege a Rome a la Renaissance, exh. cat., Societe des Expositions du Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles and Snoeck Decajou & Zoon (Brussels, 1995), under cat. no. 99, p. 202 (n. 1)

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)

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 1999-2000 (Cambridge, MA, 2001), p. 12, repr.

Alison McNeil Kettering, "The Friendship Portraits of Hendrick Goltzius", Face Book: Studies on Dutch and Flemish Portraiture of the 16th-18th Centuries. Liber Amicorum Presented to Rudolf E. O. Ekkart, ed. Charles Dumas, Primavera Pers and Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (Leiden and The Hague, 2012), pp. 75-80, p. 79 (n. 9)

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), p. 23; cat. no. 42, pp. 151-153, repr. p. 152

Exhibition History

Things of this World: A Selection of Dutch Drawings from the Collection of Maida and George Abrams, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, 10/31/1972 - 02/25/1973

Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, 02/20/1983 - 04/17/1983

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

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

Abrams 50th reunion exhibition, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/2004 - 06/14/2004

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