© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

A Standing Old Man belongs to a group of technically and stylistically related studies executed by Rembrandt in iron-gall ink on paper prepared with a light brown wash. All the drawings in this group date from the second half of the 1630s. The costume, patriarchal beard, and dismissive sweep of the right arm recall figures of Abraham in scenes where he is casting out Hagar, and this study has been related to Rembrandt’s 1637 etching of that subject. Although the two works are close in date, the pose of the man in the drawing is only vaguely similar to Abraham’s stance in the etching, so this work should not be considered a direct study for the print.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch (Leiden 1606 - 1669 Amsterdam)
A Standing Old Man
Work Type
c. 1638
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink on antique laid paper probably toned with light brown wash, framing line in brown ink
18 x 10.2 cm (7 1/16 x 4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • collector's mark: lower left, black ink, stamp: L. 2423 (Thomas Banks)
  • watermark: none
Thomas Banks, London (L. 2423, lower left), by bequest to; Mrs. Lavinia Forster, London, by bequest to; Ambrose Poynter, London (L. 161, without his mark), by bequest to; Edward John Poynter, London (L. 874, without his mark), sold; [Sotheby's, London, 24-25 April 1918, lot 280, for £31.-.-]; to [P. & D. Colnaghi, London.] [Duveen Brothers, New York], sold; to Meta and Paul J. Sachs, Cambridge, MA, by 1927 (without his mark, L. 2091); Bequest of Meta and Paul J. Sachs, 1965.213.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Meta and Paul J. Sachs
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Style and Technique: Their Interrelation in Western European Painting, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1936), cat. no. 44, p. 52, repr. pl. XX, fig. 44

Agnes Mongan and Paul J. Sachs, Drawings in the Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1940), vol. 1, cat. no. 526, p. 277, repr. vol. 2, fig. 270 as Rembrandt (?)

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, checklist, Unpublished (1954), cat. no. 53, p. 13, as Rembrandt (?)

Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, Phaidon Press (Oxford, 1954 - 1957), vol. 1, cat. no. 143, pp. 39-40, repr. fig. 157

Werner Sumowski, "Bemerkungen zu Otto Beneschs Corpus der Rembrandt-Zeichnungen I", Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin, Gesellschafts- und sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe (1956-1957), vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 255-81, p. 264, repr. p. 281, fig. 58

Jakob Rosenberg, Review of Otto Benesch, "The Drawings of Rembrandt," vols. I-II, The Art Bulletin (March 1956), vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 63-70, p. 68

Felice Stampfle and Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Rembrandt Drawings from American Collections, exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library (New York, NY, 1960), cat. no. 19, pp. 18-19, repr. pl. 15, fig. 19

Agnes Mongan, Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965] : given and bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1965), p. 206

Norman Laliberté and Alex Mogelon, Drawing with Ink: History and Modern Techniques, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. (New York, 1970), p. 18, repr.

Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt [enlarged ed.], Phaidon Press (Oxford, 1973), vol. 1, cat. no. 143, p. 41, repr. fig. 172

Seymour Slive, "Rembrandt at Harvard", Apollo (June 1978), vol. 107, no. 196, pp. 452-463, pp. 453-454, repr. p. 454, fig. 2

Werner Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler in vier Banden (Landau, 1983), vol. 3, under cat. no. 976, p. 1487

Edward Saywell, "Guide to Drawing Terms and Techniques", Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1998), vol. VI, no. 2, pp. 30-39, p. 33, under "Iron-gall ink"

Ivan Gaskell, Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2006), checklist

The Drawings of Rembrandt: a revision of Otto Benesch's catalogue raisonné, website, 2012, Benesch 143

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. 15; cat. no. 68, pp. 231-233, repr. p. 232

Exhibition History

Style and Technique: their Interrelation in Western European Painting, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1936 - 12/31/1936

Drawings from the Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University (Collected by Paul J. Sachs), Century Club, New York, 05/12/1947 - 09/25/1947

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/01/1954 - 04/30/1954

Rembrandt Drawings from American Collections, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 03/15/1960 - 04/16/1960; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/27/1960 - 05/29/1960

Rembrandt: A Selection of his Works, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 10/18/1984 - 12/11/1984

Rembrandt and His School: Drawings from the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen Rotterdam, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 12/02/1989 - 01/28/1990

Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 09/09/2006 - 12/10/2006

Rembrandt Prints & Drawings, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, 11/05/2008 - 12/14/2008

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