Portrait of a Man, probably a Member of the Van Beresteyn Family
Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)
Oil on canvas
44 x 35 in. (111.8 x 88.9 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 637
The man is most likely Cornelis van Beresteyn (1586–1638), a wealthy burgomaster of Delft. His restrained pose and sober expression contrast with the animation and accessibility that Rembrandt usually attributed to members of Amsterdam society. At the time, portraits in Delft and in the neighboring court city of The Hague were remarkably conservative, adhering to a tradition that went back to Spanish royal portraits of the mid-1500s. Rembrandt is known to have painted a few portraits in The Hague during 1632.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): RHL van Rijn [initials in monogram] / 1632
G. van Beresteijn, Kasteel Maurick, Vught, The Netherlands (until d. 1884; his estate sale, L.G.N. Dullemen, 's-Hertogenbosch, October 24, 1884, probably among nos. 17–46b, with MMA 29.100.4, for fl. 75,000, bought in; his estate sale, L.G.N. Dullemen, 's-Hertogenbosch, June 28, 1887, to Jacob van Beresteijn); Jacob van Beresteijn, Gorssel, The Netherlands (1887; sold with MMA 29.100.4 for fl. 12,000 to Gérard); [Félix Gérard, Paris, 1887–88; sold with MMA 29.100.4 to Cottier]; [Cottier and Co., London and New York, 1888; sold with MMA 29.100.4 for $60,000 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1888–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 99 (as "Christian Paul van Beresteijn") [2nd ed., 1958, no. 17, as "Cornelis van Beresteijn?"].
Birmingham, Ala. Birmingham Museum of Art. "Opening Exhibition," April 8–June 3, 1951, unnumbered cat.
Chattanooga. George Thomas Hunter Gallery of Art. "Opening Exhibition," July 12–August 3, 1952, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painter's Light," October 5–November 10, 1971, no. 18.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dutch Couples: Pair Portraits by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries," January 23–March 5, 1973, no. 5 (with MMA 29.100.4).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A445.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 3.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "Rembrandt, ego predshestvenniki i posledovateli," September 12–November 12, 2006, no. 33a.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
Raleigh. North Carolina Museum of Art. "1Rembrandt in America," October 30, 2011–January 22, 2012, no. 9.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "1Rembrandt in America," February 19–May 28, 2012, no. 9.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "1Rembrandt in America," June 24–September 16, 2012, no. 9.
Eugène Dutuit. Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt. Paris, 1885, pp. 53, 62, 66, no. 248 (with MMA 29.100.4), as portraits of unknown sitters, in the Beeresteyn [Beresteijn] collection; reports an anecdote from "Indépendance Belge" regarding the 1884 auction of the G. van Beresteijn estate.
Alfred von Wurzbach. Rembrandt-galerie. Stuttgart, 1886, text vol., no. 344 (with MMA 29.100.4).
"Two Portraits by Rembrandt." New York Sun (1888), p. ?, reports that the two paintings were bought by a New York collector [Havemeyer] from the Beresteijns via a Paris dealer and are on view at Cottier's Fifth Avenue gallery.
"Two Portraits by Rembrandt." New York Daily Tribune (November 20, 1888), p. 7, mentions that the paintings have been relined.
"The Rembrandt Portraits." The Studio, n.s., 4 (February 1889), p. 1, ill., as recently brought to America by Cottier, purchased by Havemeyer, and on loan to the MMA.
Wilhelm von Bode. Münchener neueste Nachrichten (July 9, 1890), p ? [see Ref. Michel 1894].
Émile Michel. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, and His Time. English ed. New York, 1894, vol. 1, pp. 118–19.
W. Bode. "Alte Kunstwerke in den Sammlungen der Vereinigten Staaten." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1895), p. 71.
E. W. Moes. Iconographia Batava: Beredeneerde Lijst van Geschilderde en Gebeeldhouwde Portretten van Noord-Nederlanders in Vorige Eeuwen. Vol. 1, Amsterdam, 1897, p. 62, no. 512-2, as one of two portraits of Cornelis van Beresteijn; erroneously as already belonging to the Met; questions the attribution to Rembrandt.
Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. Vol. 2, Paris, 1897, pp. 6, 44, 46, no. 82, pl. 82, as portraits of a gentleman and lady of the Van Beresteijn-Vucht family, stating that "they purport to be . . . Christian Paulus van Beresteyn and . . . his wife, Volkera Nicolai Knobbert"; notes that the actual identity of the sitters is unknown, stating that the male "may have been a Van Beresteyn, or a collateral in the female line".
A. "The Rembrandt Exhibition." Art-Journal, n.s., (December 1898), p. 356.
Malcolm Bell. Rembrandt van Rijn and His Work. London, 1899, pp. 61, 184.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906, pp. 394, 408, ill. p. 58.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Ed. W. R. Valentiner. 3rd ed. Stuttgart, 1909, pp. 551, 568, ill. p. 74.
Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 2, Vienna, 1910, pp. 405–6.
C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 6, London, 1916, p. 301, no. 624.
D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, p. 51 n. 2, p. 188, pl. LXX.
William Howe Downes. "The Great Rembrandt Question." American Magazine of Art 14 (December 1923), p. 663.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 60.
W. R. Valentiner. "Important Rembrandts in American Collections." Art News 28 (April 26, 1930), p. 4, ill. following p. 4.
Illustrated London News 176 (March 29, 1930), ill. p. 535.
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), pp. 462, 464.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 20–21, ill.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 23, pl. 23, as a gentleman of the Beresteijn-Vucht family, stating that it is so called only because the Havemeyers acquired it from the Beresteijn family.
A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 8, no. 167, pl. 167.
O[tto]. Benesch inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 29, Leipzig, 1935, p. 262.
Alan Burroughs. Art Criticism from a Laboratory. Boston, 1938, p. 168, figs. 71 (detail), 72 (shadowgraph detail), states that while these portraits are characteristic of Rembrandt, they are probably by Backer.
Julius S. Held. "Book Reviews: Alan Burroughs, Art Criticism from a Laboratory." Art Bulletin 22 (March 1940), pp. 41–42, defends the attribution to Rembrandt.
E. A. van Beresteyn. Genealogie van het Geslacht van Beresteyn. The Hague, 1941, vol. 2, pp. 5, 135–37, fig. 140, does not believe that the portraits represent members of the Beresteijn family; suggests that the male sitter is Jonker Hendrik Heym of Maurick and that the portraits came to the Beresteijn family with the castle purchase; mentions seeing a pair of copies at auction in 1905 on which the coat of arms of the Brabant family was painted in gold.
Josephine L. Allen. "The Museum's Rembrandts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), p. 73.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 11 (November 1952), pp. 82, 84.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 19, as "Nicholas and Volkera van Beresteijn".
Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 19, pl. 360, notes an added strip at the bottom of the canvas.
Horst Gerson. Rembrandt Paintings. Ed. Gary Schwartz. Amsterdam, 1968, p. 494, no. 120, ill. p. 265, as by Rembrandt.
Paolo Lecaldano inL'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, p. 98, no. 83, ill.
Horst Gerson, ed. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. By A[braham]. Bredius. 3rd ed. London, 1969, pp. 561, 576, no. 167, ill. p. 142.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 208–10 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
John Walsh Jr. The Painter's Light. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1971, p. 10, no. 18, tentatively as Cornelius van Berestyn [sic]
Hubert von Sonnenburg in "Technical Aspects: Scientific Examination." Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years. Chicago, 1973, p. 91, suggests that the uneven quality indicates that Rembrandt may have signed works done partly or entirely by pupils.
I. van Eeghen. Portretten van Rembrandt. [ca. 1973], pp. 6–7.
Hubert von Sonnenburg. "Maltechnische Gesichtspunkte zur Rembrandtforschung." Maltechnik/Restauro 82, no. 1 (1976), p. 21.
J. Bolten and H. Bolten-Rempt. The Hidden Rembrandt. Milan, 1977, p. 177, no. 116, ill.
Walter L. Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen. The Rembrandt Documents. New York, 1979, p. 83.
Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann. "Dutch and Flemish Masters of the Seventeenth Century." Apollo 111 (March 1980), p. 205.
Maryan W. Ainsworth et al. Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. New York, 1982, p. 29, pls. 11, 12 (x-ray radiograph), 13, 14 (autoradiographs), finds that autoradiographs of both portraits reveal a technique and procedure consistent with the work of Rembrandt.
Gary Schwartz. Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings. New York, 1985, p. 163, fig. 159 (color), considers both portraits to be by Rembrandt.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 47, 53–54, 254, 261 n. 9 (to chapter IV), pl. 11, ill. p. 74 (photograph from Havemeyer house).
Christian Tümpel. Rembrandt: Mythos und Methode. Königstein, 1986, pp. 428–29, 431, no. A81, ill. p. 82 (color), as from Rembrandt's workshop.
J[osua]. Bruyn et al. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. Vol. 2, 1631–1634. The Hague, 1986, pp. 26, 38, 74, 740–51, 757–59, no. C68, ill. (overall, x-ray, autoradiographs, and details), attribute both portraits to a single artist working in Rembrandt's workshop; suggest Jouderville.
Susanna McBee. "But is it a Rembrandt?" U.S. News & World Report (October 20, 1986), pp. 62–63, ill. (color), reports the Rembrant Research Project's [see Ref. Bruyn et al. 1986] rejection of the attribution to Rembrandt.
Douglas C. McGill. "Met to Relabel 2 of its 'Rembrandts'." New York Times (September 30, 1986), pp. A1, C13, ill., erroneously states that the Museum plans to reattribute the pendants to the workshop of Rembrandt.
Douglas C. McGill. "Museum Delays its Rembrandt Relabeling." New York Times (November 15, 1986), p. 14, states that the Museum has reversed its decision to reattribute the pendants to the workshop of Rembrandt [but see Ref. McGill 1986, article of September 30].
Grace Glueck. "Masterpieces Rise and Fall on a Tide of New Expertise." New York Times (December 7, 1986), p. H1, mentions that the Museum retains the attribution to Rembrandt.
Christopher White. "Review of Bruyn et al. 1986." Burlington Magazine 129 (December 1987), p. 810, is not persuaded by the rejection of the attribution to Rembrandt.
John Russell. "The Cordial Conflict on Rembrandt Continues." New York Times (February 19, 1987), pp. A1, C23, ill. (detail).
Paul Jeromack. "Être Rembrandt ou ne plus l'être." Connaissance des Arts no. 441 (November 1988), pp. 103–8, ill. (color).
Svetlana [L.] Alpers. Rembrandt's Enterprise: The Studio and the Market. Chicago, 1988, pp. 122, 125 n. 19, fig. 4.31.
Walter Liedtke. "Reconstructing Rembrandt: Portraits from the Early Years in Amsterdam (1631–34)." Apollo 129 (May 1989), pp. 325–26, 328–31, 372 nn. 26, 28, 30–31, 48, 50, 55, 59, pl. I and fig. 1 (detail), reaffirms the attribution to Rembrandt.
Christopher Brown. "Re-Appraising Rembrandt." Sotheby's Preview (November/December 1989), p. 8, ill. p. 6 (color), rejects the attribution to Jouderville [see Ref. Bruyn et al. 1986].
J[osua]. Bruyn et al. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. Vol. 3, 1635–1642. The Hague, 1989, p. 776.
Walter Liedtke. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and Their Ideals." Great Dutch Paintings from America. Exh. cat., Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1990, p. 46.
Claus Grimm. Rembrandt selbst: Ein Neubewertung seiner Porträtkunst. Stuttgart, 1991, pp. 48, colorpl. 22 (detail), figs. 66, 148 (detail), as by Rembrandt.
Walter Liedtke inMasterworks from the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1992, p. 106 n. 5.
John Ingamells. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Pictures. Vol. 4, Dutch and Flemish. London, 1992, p. 294 n. 9.
Leonard J. Slatkes. Rembrandt: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1992, pp. 208–9, no. 116, ill. (color), defends the attribution to Rembrandt.
Claus Grimm. "Forschungsbeispiel Rembrandt: Eine kritische Würdigung des Amsterdamer Forschungsprojektes." Maltechnik/Restauro 98 (May–June 1992), pp. 170, 177–79 nn. 5, 18, fig. 9 (detail), as unduly de-attributed by the Rembrandt Research Project [see Ref. Bruyn et al. 1986].
Ben Broos. "Rembrandt? Rembrandt!." Algemeen-Nederlands Tweemaandelijks Cultureel Tijdschrift 35 (March–April 1992), p. 197.
Albert Blankert inRembrandt och hans Tid: Människan i Centrum. Exh. cat., Nationalmuseum. Stockholm, 1992, p. 62, fig. 11b (detail), believes the sitter is the same as in a portrait in the Staatliche Museen, Kassel; suggests that the portrait was begun by Rembrandt and finished by an assistant.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 19, 310 n. 37.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 207.
Walter A. Liedtke inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 62–63, colorpl. 61.
Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen. Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, fig. 30 (photograph of Havemeyer's Rembrandt room).
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 371–73, no. A445, ill.
Carol Vogel. "A New System for Validating Rembrandts." New York Times (August 12, 1993), pp. C13, C16, ill. (detail), erroneously states that the pendants were "downgraded" in 1986 to the workshop of Rembrandt.
"Corrections." New York Times (August 19, 1993), p. A2, corrects Ref. Vogel 1993, noting that the Museum never changed the attribution to Rembrandt.
Walter Liedtke inRembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, "Paintings, Drawings, and Prints: Art-Historical Perspectives."New York, , pp. 15–16, 40, 46–50, 60, 96, 103, no. 3, ill. (color).
Hubert von Sonnenburg. Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, "Paintings: Problems and Issues."New York, 1995, pp. 12, 24, 40, 82–87, no. 3, ill. (color) and figs. 32 (color detail), 33 (x-radiograph detail), 107, is "disinclined to dismiss altogether the possibility that an assistant participated occasionally . . . particularly with regard to the woman's portrait".
William Grimes. "An Enigma Sometimes Wrapped in a Fake." New York Times (October 1, 1995), p. H34.
Paul Broekhoff and Michiel Franken. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship." Simiolus 25, no. 1 (1997), pp. 76, 78.
Ernst van de Wetering. Rembrandt: The Painter at Work. Amsterdam, 1997, p. 102, in a survey of canvas threadcounts, finds that the pendants are probably from the same bolt of fabric.
Simon Schama. Rembrandt's Eyes. New York, 1999, pp. 374–75, 713 n. 15, ill. p. 373 (color), as by Rembrandt.
Christopher Wright. Rembrandt. Paris, 2000, pp. 192–93, fig. 174 (color), as by Rembrandt, stating that it is difficult to believe that the pendants had ever been the subject of controversy.
Julia Lloyd Williams. Rembrandt's Women. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 2001, p. 245 n. 16.
Esmée Quodbach. "'The Last of the American Versailles': The Widener Collection at Lynnewood Hall." Simiolus 29, no. 1/2 (2002), p. 82 n. 69.
Julia Lloyd Williams. Rembrandt: Artemisia y Mujer en el lecho. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2002, p. 32 n. 16.
Sylvia Hochfield. "What is a Real Rembrandt?" Art News 103 (February 2004), pp. 88–90, ill. (color).
Esmée Quodbach. "'Rembrandt's "Gilder" is here': How America Got its First Rembrandt and France Lost Many of its Old Masters." Simiolus 31, no. 1/2 (2004), p. 99, fig. 7 (photograph of Havemeyer library), erroneously as by Isack Jouderville.
Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, pp. 187, 358 n. 14.
Lene Bøgh Rønberg inRembrandt? The Master and His Workshop. Exh. cat., Statens Museum for Kunst. [Copenhagen], 2006, p. 99 n. 17, as among works "accepted . . . as the result of collaboration between the master and a student".
Rembrandt, ego predshestvenniki i posledovateli. Exh. cat., State Pushkin Museum. Moscow, 2006, pp. 9, 48, no. 33a, ill. p. 50 (color).
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 15, 18, 70, fig. 15 (Havemeyer library photograph).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. ix, 292, 474 n. 2; vol. 2, pp. 568–84, 589, no. 143, colorpl. 143, fig. 133, suggests that it was probably painted exclusively by Rembrandt, and that the sitter represents a member of the Van Beresteyn family.
Walter Liedtke. "Rembrandt Revelations at the Metropolitan Museum." Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, Beiheft: Wissenschaft auf der Suche 51 (2009), pp. 43–45, fig. 1.
Dennis P. Weller inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 23, 178, no. 9, ill. (color).
George S. Keyes inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 67, 83 n. 21, p. 116, colorpl. 10.
This picture is the pendant to the "Portrait of a Woman" (MMA 29.100.4).