Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Whether derived from imagination or observed from life, portraits and head studies were a mainstay of Dutch draftsmanship of the early Golden Age. As the four drawings displayed at the center of this room show, the medium of pen and ink, with the occasional addition of washes, was popular among artists intent on producing technically refined and visually striking human likenesses. Jacob Matham’s Portrait of a Man stands out for its exceedingly controlled and meticulous pen work. This, in essence, is a showpiece, produced to celebrate the artist’s skill as a draftsman. Matham’s exacting study can be contrasted with the bold and painterly drawing manner of Jan van Bouckhorst, whose drawing depicts the allegory of the Three Ages of Man. A more informal approach was also adopted in Dirck de Vries’s Head of a Young Woman in Profile. Showing the woman’s unruly hair falling over her neck and eyes, and rendering her upper body in quick angular strokes, the drawing gives the impression of an intimate study done from life. While the model in De Vries’s work will likely remain anonymous, the sitter in the portrait by David Bailly can be identified as Dutch painter and draftsman Jan Pynas. Formal in approach and polished in execution, this drawing is the only known likeness of the artist, whose own landscape drawing is also included in this installation.

[25.1998.6, TL41760.4, TL41760.23, TL41760.24]

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Jacob Matham, Dutch (Haarlem, Netherlands 1571 - 1631 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Portrait of a Man
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink over black chalk on light tan antique laid paper, mounted on antique laid paper; verso: traces of black chalk
27 × 20.6 cm (10 5/8 × 8 1/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Brown ink, top center: 1603 J. Maetham
  • inscription: upper left, brown ink: s.b.
  • inscription: lower right, brown ink: 46 [?]
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: [erased and illegible]
  • inscription: verso, lower center, graphite: G G J ... [partially erased and illegible]
  • watermark: none
  • collector's mark: verso, lower right, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
[Bernard Houthakker Gallery, Amsterdam], sold; to Siegfried Kramarsky, New York, by descent; to his wife Lola Kramarsky, New York, sold; [Art and Antique Auction and Sale in Aid of Youth Aliyah and Fellowship in Israel for Arab-Jewish Youth, Hotel Continental, Cambridge, MA, 7 November 1965, lot 40], sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1965 (L. 3306, verso, lower right); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Promised Gift, 25.1998.6
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Promised Gift
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Catalogue, Art and Antique Auction and Sale in Aid of Youth Aliyah and Fellowship in Israel for Arab-Jewish Youth, auct. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 1965), p. 6, lot 40, repr.

Franklin W. Robinson, Selections from the Collection of Dutch drawings of Maida and George Abrams, exh. cat., Jewett Arts Center (Wellesley, MA, 1969), p. viii and cat. no. 1, n.p., repr.

Vassar College Art Gallery, Dutch Mannerism: Apogee and Epilogue, exh. cat., Vassar College Art Gallery (Poughkeepsie, NY, 1970), cat. no. 74, pp. 54-55, repr. pl. 19, fig. 74

William H. Wilson, Dutch Seventeenth Century Portraiture: The Golden Age, exh. cat., John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota, Fla, 1980), cat. no. 80, n.p., repr.

Frima Fox Hofrichter, Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century, exh. cat., Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum (New Brunswick, NJ, 1983), cat. no. 78, pp. 102-103, repr.

George Abrams, "Collectors and Collecting", Drawings Defined, ed. Walter Strauss, Abaris Books (New York, 1987), pp. 415-429, p. 417, repr. p. 419, fig. 3

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. 6, pp. 30-31, repr.

Léna Widerkehr, Jacob Matham Goltzij privignus: Jacob Matham graveur et ses rapports avec Hendrick Goltzius, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, ed. Reinerdt Falkenburg, Jan Piet Filedt Kok, and Huigen Leeflang, Waanders Uitgevers (1993), vols. 42-43, pp. 219-260, p. 255, n. 67

Léna Widerkehr and Université de Strasbourg, "Jacob Matham (1571-1631) graveur-éditeur à Haarlem: un maître du burin et son oeuvre dessiné" (1997), no. D. 17, n. p., repr. as fig. 17

Yvonne Bleyerveld, Albert Jan Elen, and Judith Niessen, Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam: Artists Born before 1581, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, 2012), [online publication: [], accessed 3/7/2017]

Exhibition History

Selections from the Collection of Dutch Drawings of Maida and George Abrams, Hopkins Center Art Galleries, Hanover, 03/27/1969 - 04/28/1969; Wellesley College Museum of Art, Wellesley, 05/04/1969 - 06/04/1969; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 09/17/1969 - 10/12/1969; University of Connecticut Museum of Art, Storrs, 10/18/1969 - 11/16/1969

Dutch Mannerism: Apogee and Epilogue, Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, 04/15/1970 - 06/07/1970

Dutch Seventeenth Century Portraiture: The Golden Age, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 12/04/1980 - 02/08/1981

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

The Art of Drawing in the Early Dutch Golden Age, 1590–1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/09/2017 - 01/14/2018

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