Jan Lievens - Tronie of an Old Woman

Jan Lievens - Tronie of an Old Woman - image-1
Jan Lievens - Tronie of an Old Woman - image-1

Jan Lievens

Tronie of an Old Woman

Oil on panel. 71 x 58 cm.

The painting shows a half-figure of an old woman in profile to the right, holding a key and wearing a head scarf and a cloak covering her head. Albert Blanckert who saw the original painting considers it to be an outstanding work by Jan Lievens from his early career between 1625 and 1632. Blankert compares it to other „troniës“ by Lievens that also represent portrait-like character studies with remarkable physiognomies and costumes, for instance ”The Head of an Old Woman” in a New York private collection showing a similar coloured head scarf (cf. Werner Sumoswski: Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, vol. III Landau 1983, no. 1222, 1229, 1237 and 1261).
The “tronies” developed before the 17th century as studies for history paintings, with Rembrandt´s and Jan Lievens´s first very similar looking works of „troniës“ it became a genre in its own right. In later times, Rembrandt became much more famous than Jan Lievens, thus the present painting was considered to be an undisputed work by Rembrandt since its first reference in the Heemskerk auction catalogue in 1770. Still in 1905 and 1915, Wilhelm Bode and Hofstede de Grotot respectively included it in their catalogue raisonné of the works of Rembrandt. Moreover, it was shown as a “Rembrandt” in the epoch-making Rembrandt exhibition in Amsterdam in 1898 and in the ambitious “Kunsthistorischen Ausstellung” (Art Historical Exhibition) in Düsseldorf in 1904. But later, the painting, since 1891 belonging to a German private collection, disappeared from the public. Thus, the painting was out of sight for art historical research that in the last decades has attributed a number of paintings supposedly by Rembrandt to Jan Lievens.
We thank Albert Blankert (The Hague) for his help in cataloguing this lot. The expertise by Albert Blankert has been verbally confirmed by Lloyd DeWitt (Philadelphia), who is working on the catalogue raisonné of Jan Lievens.


Aelbert Blankert, The Hague, mit Brief vom 1.4.2011.


Auction J. H. van Heemskerk, The Hague, 29.3.1770, lot 93: "Rembrandt, Een oud Vrouwen Portret, Hoog 39, breed 23 1/2 duim. Zy is zittende halverlyf en van ter zyde te zien; hebbende het hoofd en ´t lyf bedekt met een loshangend kleed, houdende de beide handen te zamen waarin ze een sleutel heeft. Zynde krachtig en kloek geschilderd" (sold for fl. 31,10 to De Bons). - Prince Adam Czartoryski Collection, Pulawy near Warsaw. - Collection of General Kicki, Warsaw. - Helene von Przybyslawska Collection. - With art dealer Steinmeyer, Cologne. - 1891 acquired from Steinmeyer for a German private collection, thence by descent. On the reverse an indistinct collector´s seal in red lacquer.


Wilhelm Bode (in collaboration with C. Hofstede de Groot): Rembrandt. Beschreibendes Verzeichnis seiner Gemälde. vol. 5, Paris 1901, no. 391, illustrated (Heliogravure). - Wilhelm R. Valentiner: Rembrandt und seine Umgebung, Strassbourg 1905, p. 40, footnote. 1 (assuming the sitter to be Geertje Dircx). - C. Hofstede de Groot: Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. vol. 6, Esslingen/Paris 1915, p. 221, no. 500.


Rembrandt schilderijen, bijeengebracht ter gelegenheid van de inhuldiging van koningin Wilhelmina, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 1898, no. 47. - Kunsthistorische Ausstellung, Düsseldorf 1904, catalogue p. 153, no. 391.

Lot 1047 Dα

200.000 € - 300.000 €

605.000 €