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The Great Jewish Bride by Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt

The Great Jewish Bride by Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt

R. S. Johnson Fine Art (IFPDA)



Edition Size: unknown

Sheet Size: 8 11/16 x 6 9/16 inches


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

A fine impression (5th state) of this major work with an illustrious provenance.

References:  Bartsch/Hollstein 340-V/V ; Hind 127 ; B-B 35-C

“The Great Jewish Bride” is one of Rembrandt’s most iconic prints. White/Boon indicate various identifications for this subject. Valentiner suggested an actress on a stage (Minerva?), Weisbach and Benesch suggested a Sibyl, while M. Kahr Oud Holland, 1966 (lxxxi), p.244 ff, suggested that the subject was Esther holding a decree and meditating over the slaying of the Jews. The traditional title, however, derives from the belief that the sitter was the daughter of the Jewish doctor Ephraim Bonus (the subject of another of one Rembrandt’s famous etchings). Landsberger, in his study “Rembrandt, the Jews and the Bible” ( Philadelphia, 1946, p. 74), pointed out that a Jewish bride received her husband with her hair down and the Ketubah in her hand.

1. Baron Hans Albrecht von Derschau (ref. Lugt 2510), who died in 1824, was from Nürnberg and was well-known for his publications from 1808 to 1816 on the history of the woodcut, “Holzschnitte alter Deutscher Meister in den Original Platten.” Already in 1780, von Derschau had acquired hundreds of original woodcuts from the collection of Dürer’s friend, Willibald Pirkheimer. Von Derschau also acquired many works from the famous collection of Johann Gustav Silberrad (died 1782) and he then acquired a considerable collection of prints which he sold to the King of Prussia in 1817. These latter works (including the present Rembrandt) then came into the hands of the Kupferstichkabinett (Print Collection) of the National Museum in Berlin around 1831.

2. Kupferstichkabinett des Staatlichen Museen, Berlin (ref. Lugt 1606 and 2398), 1831. The Berlin Kupferstichkabinett was established through the acquisition of four collections: that of the Baron von Derschau; that of King Friedrich Wilhelm I (1713-1740); those of the ensemble of the collections of the Count of Lepell, the Count of Cornellian and a Prof. Weitsch; and finally that of the Generalspostmeister K.F.F. von Nagler. Eventually this present Rembrandt was sold by the museum as a duplicate probably in the year 1871.

3. C. and R. Hirschler (Lugt 633a). According to Lugt (Frits Lugt, “Les Marques de Collections Supplément,” The Hague, 1956, p. 91), Carl Hirschler (1871-1941) and his wife Rose went to Haarlem where he became director of the Bunge Company of Amsterdam. Their print collection consisted principally of important works by Schongauer, van Meckenem, Dürer and Rembrandt, as well as the complete etched works of van Ostade and Bega.

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The Artist

Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt

Approximately 300 etchings and drypoints by Rembrandt were produced between 1626 and 1665. His work as a printmaker paralleled his career as a painter; he rarely dealt with the same subjects in both mediums, and he rarely made prints of his paintings. Above all, he was a brilliant experimenter and inventor in this field, frequently using standard materials in unexpected ways. His influence on printmaking is still visible in contemporary etchings.

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