Old Man with a Tall, Fur-Edged Cap

Follower of Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)

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The subject of old age was one that Rembrandt employed throughout his career to explore a variety of textures and emotions. Here, an artist working in the late style of the Dutch master manipulates the application of paint to convey the weathered quality of the skin, the downy softness of the hat’s fur trim, and the heavy coarseness of the cloak. This figure appears in a similar pose in two paintings from Rembrandt’s immediate circle, and he has been associated with persons as diverse as the classical poet Homer, the Old Testament patriarch Jacob, and a disciple of Christ.

Féréol Bonnemaison [died 1827], Paris, France; Sale at (M. Henry, Paris) in 1827. {1} V. H. Crosby, London, England; By descent to Mrs. H. Hallahan, London, probably until 1904.{2} Baron Leopold Hirsch [1867-1932], London, by 1909;{3} Sale at (Christie’s, London) in 1934;{4} (John Nicholson, London), in 1934.{5} (Ehrich-Newhouse Galleries, New York, New York), in 1934; Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1934.{6} Private English collection, from about 1944, possibly via Ivan N. Podgoursky.{7} (Newhouse Galleries, New York), by 1955; Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1955;{8} Clowes Fund Collection, Indianapolis, 1958-present; on long-term loan to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Courtesy of The Clowes Fund, since 1971 (C10062); given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2016.

{1} M. Henry, Paris, Catalogue de Tableaux Précieux des diverses ecoles et autres objets de curiosité…formant le cabinet de feu M. le Chevalier Féréol Bonnemaison, 20 April 1827, lot no. 71. The descriptive entry of this lot cut from the auction catalog is attached to the back of the painting.
{2} According to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s website, for a painting by Benjamin West (06.2362), the Hallahan estate sale took place on 14 April 1904 in London at Knight, Frank & Rutley “being part of the collection formed by the late V.H. Crosby.” [Catalogue at National Art Library, London, still to be consulted, to confirm this painting’s inclusion in this sale.]
{3} The painting, loaned by Hirsch, was included in the exhibition publication, A Catalogue of the Pictures and Drawings in the National Loan Exhibition in aid of National Gallery Funds held in the Grafton Galleries, London, 1909-10, no. 41.
{4} Christie’s, London, Catalogue of the Collection of Important Pictures by Old Masters, British Portraits, Engravings and Drawings: The property of Leopold Hirsch, Esq., deceased, 11 May 1934, cat. no. 126 (ill.).
{5} Although an annotated copy of the above cited auction catalogue available at the Frick Art Reference Library (FARL) indicates that the painting was sold to “G. Nicholson.” However, an article “Highest Prices in Hirsch Dispersals,” The Art News, p.17, listing auction results, indicates that lot no. 126 went to the English dealer, John Nicholson.
{6} For the invoice dated 31 May 1934, signed by B.M. [Bertram] Newhouse and Dr. Clowes, see IMA Clowes Archive, Rembrandt file.
{7} The particular private English collection is not identified by Newhouse Galleries at the time of its sale to Dr. Clowes for a second time. In correspondence with Podgoursky in spring 1944, “the little Rembrandt panel” was one of several paintings Dr. Clowes agreed to sell, see Clowes Archive, Podgoursky correspondence. Dr. Clowes sometime sought to upgrade his collection by exchange or by trade, or when seeking funds to purchase another painting.
{8} The painting is included in the exhibition and catalogue, Paintings from the Collection of George Henry Alexander Clowes: A Memorial Exhibition, John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis, 1959, ca. no. 46 (ill.).

Object Information

Follower of Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
oil on panel
9-3/4 x 7-1/2 in. (panel)
17-3/4 x 15-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
The Clowes Collection
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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