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Gallery Text

Although De Gheyn III’s manner of draftsmanship was undoubtedly related to the graphic technique of his father and teacher Jacques de Gheyn II, the flawless xecution and the highly linear, almost abstract quality f this sheet epitomize his own unique drawing style. Working with a heavily charged pen on coarse tan paper, the artist depicted the same woman’s head in six different positions. Her deep, expressive wrinkles were rendered using short, stipple-like strokes, while the headscarf was executed mostly through the combination of regular parallel hatches and subtle white highlights. The long-standing appreciation for the younger artist’s penmanship is confirmed by the fact that this drawing was previously owned by British painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), a highly discerning art collector and the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2011.513
People
Jacques de Gheyn III, Dutch (Amsterdam, Netherlands c. 1596 - 1641 Utrecht, Netherlands)
Title
Six Studies of an Old Woman's Head
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1625-30
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Brown ink and white opaque watercolor over traces of black chalk on light tan antique laid paper
Dimensions
37.4 x 23.7 cm (14 3/4 x 9 5/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower left, brown ink: 22
  • inscription: lower center, graphite: 480
  • inscription: verso, center, brown ink: 1b.L.67
  • inscription: verso, upper center, brown ink: Ad 1 BX
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: 36-50
  • collector's mark: lower center, black ink, stamp: L. 2364 (Joshua Reynolds)
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
  • watermark: none
  • collector's mark: lower right, black ink, stamp: Probably L. 3172 (Unidentified, mark largely illegible)
  • collector's mark: lower right, black ink, stamp: L. 474 (Comte de Caylus, formerly pseudo-Crozat)
  • collector's mark: lower right, black ink, stamp: L. 525 (unidentified collector, probably 18th century)
Provenance
Probably Comte de Caylus, Paris (L. 474, lower right).[1] Unidentified Collector (L. 525, lower right). Sir Joshua Reynolds, London (L. 2364, lower center). Unidentified Collector (probably L. 3172, lower right). [Otto and Anne Wertheimer, Paris], sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1976 (L. 3306, verso, lower left); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Gift of George Abrams in memory of Jeff Coolidge, Harvard Class of 1954, 2011.513.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gift of George Abrams in memory of Jeff Coolidge, Harvard Class of 1954
Accession Year
2011
Object Number
2011.513
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Franklin W. Robinson, Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, exh. cat., International Exhibitions Foundation (Washington, D.C, 1977), cat. no. 22, pp. 25-26, repr. fig. 22

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, checklist (unpublished, 1980), no. 5

I. Q. van Regteren Altena, Jacques de Gheyn: Three Generations, M. Nijhoff Publishers (The Hague, Boston and London, 1983), vol. 2, cat. no. III 41, p. 170; repr. vol. 3, p. 259, pl. 48

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. 12, pp. 42-43, repr.

Edward Saywell, "Behind the Line: The Materials and Techniques of Old Master Drawings", Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, 1998), vol. 6, no. 2, checklist no. 21, p. 27

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. 33b, pp. 92-93 and 253, repr.

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)

Les Marques de Collections de Dessins & d'Estampes, website, Fondation Custodia, 2015, under L. 525

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), cat. no. 41, pp. 148-150, repr. p. 149

Exhibition History

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

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1980 - 01/04/1981

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

Behind the Line: The Materials and Techniques of Old Master Drawings, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/03/1998 - 12/30/1998

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

32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/08/2017 - 01/17/2018

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 am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu