The sitter is probably Hendrickje Stoffels, who was the painter's companion from about 1650 until her early death in 1663. Rembrandt's responsibility for this portrait has never been doubted, although the signature and date appear to have been added by another hand. The picture may have been painted at different intervals in the years about 1655–60, and it may be unfinished in the drapery and hand. The paint surface is badly abraded, making judgments of quality and of Rembrandt's intentions difficult. It seems likely, however, that the artist had Titian in mind: for example, his famous painting (known from many copies) of the repentant Magdalen.
The daughter of an army sergeant, Hendrickje Stoffels advanced in Rembrandt's household from servant (by 1649) to mistress, presumed model, and common-law wife, as well as stepmother to the artist's son Titus (1641–1668) and mother of his daughter Cornelia (1654–1685). Over the past hundred years, this portrait has been given many subjective, even novelistic interpretations, which are mostly based on the assumption that the features of Hendrickje are here faithfully transcribed. No indisputable image of her has been identified, although the present work is considered a plausible example of the Hendrickje type. Its attribution to Rembrandt has never been reasonably doubted. However, the awkwardly placed signature and date of 1660 must have been added during a later period. The work probably dates from the mid-1650s.
Hendrickje's relationship to Rembrandt and the picture's supposed date of 1660 encouraged the persistent misconception that it was probably intended by Rembrandt as a pendant to his Self-Portrait of 1660 (MMA 14.40.618). Although the paintings are now about the same size, the figures differ in scale, presentation, and execution, and the works were (so far as is known) never in the same building before 1925. Moreover, the idea that Rembrandt would have presented himself and his mistress in companion portraits raises questions of propriety that modern scholars have for the most part ignored. The normal inhibitions to such a pictorial statement would have been considerably enhanced by Hendrickje's pregnancy in 1654, for which she was called before the council of the Reformed Church in Amsterdam and banned from taking communion.
Hendrickje is thought to have modeled for three comparable paintings by Rembrandt: one perhaps of about 1653–54 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), one probably of the mid-1650s (National Gallery, London), and the Woman at an Open Door of about 1656 (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin). The order in which the four pictures were painted, their dating in general, and the degree to which each of them reflects the appearance of Hendrickje at a particular time are all matters of conjecture. However, the faces in the New York and Berlin paintings (the two that most closely resemble each other) seem to reveal more age than the apparently prettified features in the London and Paris pictures.
It is quite likely that the four works were intended to be understood as images of courtesans, comparable with those painted by Venetian artists, especially Palma Vecchio. It is also likely that the MMA work was begun around 1654–55, when pictures of courtesans appear to have flourished in Amsterdam. The final stage of painting could have been carried out after a brief interval, or within one or two years.
[2013; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Inscribed (right, in a later hand): Rembrandt / f 1660
Cotoner family, Palma de Mallorca; Nicolas Cotoner y Allendesalazar, 2nd Marqués de la Cenia, Palma de Mallorca (probably until d. 1897); Rodolphe Kann, Paris (by 1900–d. 1905; his estate, 1905–7; cat., 1907, vol. 1, no. 69; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, Paris and New York, 1907; sold for $135,000 to Huntington]; Mrs. Collis P. (Arabella D.) Huntington, later [from 1913] Mrs. Henry E. Huntington, New York (1907–d. 1924); her son, Archer Milton Huntington, New York (1924–26)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 103 (lent by Mrs. Collis P. Huntington, New York).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition," May 8–August 1920, unnumbered cat. (p. 9, lent by Mrs. Henry E. Huntington).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Rembrandt," January 21–?, 1942, no catalogue.
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum. "Drie eeuwen portret in Nederland," June 29–October 5, 1952, no. 147.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 16.
Edinburgh. National Gallery of Scotland. "Rembrandt's Women," June 8–September 2, 2001, no. 127 (as "Hendrickje Stoffels [?]").
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Rembrandt's Women," September 22–December 16, 2001, no. 127.
Kyoto National Museum. "Rembrandt Rembrandt," November 3, 2002–January 13, 2003, no. 38 (as "Half Figure of a Woman [Hendrickje Stoffels?]").
Frankfurt. Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie. "Rembrandt Rembrandt," February 1–May 11, 2003, no. 36 (as "Halbfigur einer Frau [Hendrickje Stoffels?]").
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits," January 30–May 1, 2005, no. 5 (as "Hendrickje Stoffels [as the Sorrowing Virgin?]").
Los Angeles. J. Paul Getty Museum. "Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits," June 7–August 28, 2005, no. 5.
Copenhagen. Statens Museum for Kunst. "Rembrandt? The Master and His Workshop," February 4–May 14, 2006, no. 15.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "Rembrandt, ego predshestvenniki i posledovateli," September 12–November 12, 2006, no. 37.
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.
Hartford. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. "Rembrandt's People," October 10, 2009–January 24, 2010, no. 4.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016, unnumbered cat. (colorpl. 66).
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. III, pl. 8, as "Porträt der Hendrikje Stoffels".
Gustav Glück. "Die Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris." Die Graphischen Künste 23 (1900), p. 90.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemälde-Sammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. VII, ill. p. XI (gallery photograph).
M. G. Z[immermann]. "Die Galerie Rudolf Kann zu Paris." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 12, no. 6 (1901), p. 141.
Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. Vol. 6, Paris, 1901, pp. 16, 108, no. 438, pl. 438.
Auguste Marguillier. "La collection de M. Rodolphe Kann." Les arts 2 (February 1903), p. 20, ill. p. 25.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1904, p. 262, ill. p. 219.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt und seine Umgebung. Strasbourg, 1905, p. 45.
E. W. Moes. Iconographia Batava: Beredeneerde Lijst van Geschilderde en Gebeeldhouwde Portretten van Noord-Nederlanders in Vorige Eeuwen. Vol. 2, Amsterdam, 1905, p. 425, no. 7603-6.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906, pp. 404, 417, 426, ill. p. 344.
Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann Collection: Pictures. Paris, 1907, vol. 1, p. 70, no. 69, ill. opp. p. 70.
Marcel Nicolle. "La Collection Rodolphe Kann." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 23 (January–June 1908), p. 196.
C. J. Holmes. "Recent Acquisitions by Mrs. C. P. Huntington from the Kann Collection." Burlington Magazine 12 (January 1908), p. 198, ill. p. 195.
J. Kirby Grant. "Mrs. Collis P. Huntington's Collection." Connoisseur 20 (January 1908), p. 6, pl. II.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Ed. W. R. Valentiner. 3rd ed. Stuttgart, 1909, p. 562, ill. p. 411, based on similar dimensions, suggests that it may be a pendant to Rembrandt's "Self-portrait" of 1660 (MMA 14.40.618).
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909, vol. 1, p. 104, no. 103, ill. opp. p. 104.
Joseph Breck. "L'art hollandais à l'exposition Hudson-Fulton à New York." L'art flamand & hollandais 13, no. 2 (1910), p. 53 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 17 (January 1910), p. 10].
E[mil]. Waldmann. "Die Ausstellung Holländischer Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts in New York." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 4 (1910), p. 76, ill. p. 74.
Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 2, Vienna, 1910, p. 407.
C. J. Holmes. Notes on the Art of Rembrandt. London, 1911, pp. 154–55, pl. XL.
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. 339, no. 720.
"Pictures Lent for the Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 15 (August 1920), p. 192.
John C. van Dyke. Rembrandt and His School. New York, 1923, p. 64, as probably by Drost.
D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, pp. 137, 198, pl. CCCXXVIII.
Bryson Burroughs. "Paintings by Rembrandt and Hals on Loan." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 20 (November 1925), pp. 258–59.
Bryson Burroughs. "Three Paintings in a Recent Gift." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 21 (July 1926), pp. 164–66, ill.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 147, pl. 147.
A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 6, no. 118, pl. 118.
Otto Benesch. Rembrandt, Werk und Forschung. Vienna, 1935, p. 65, upholds the suggestion [see Ref. Rosenberg 1909] that it may be the pendant to MMA 14.40.618.
Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 200, ill.
William M. Ivins Jr. "The Art of Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37 (January 1942), pp. 3, 6, 12–13, ill. p. 10.
Introduction by William M. Ivins Jr. The Unseen Rembrandt. New York, 1942, pls. 21–22 (overall and detail).
Julius S. Held. "Rembrandt: The Self-Education of an Artist." Art News 40 (February 1–14, 1942), p. 28, ill. p. 14 (detail).
Wolfgang Stechow. "Rembrandt and Titian." Art Quarterly 5 (Spring 1942), pp. 141, 144, fig. 1, suggests a relationship with Titian's "Flora" (now Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence), which Rembrandt would have seen when it was in the Lopez collection in Amsterdam.
Josephine L. Allen. "The Museum's Rembrandts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), p. 73.
Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt. Cambridge, Mass., 1948, vol. 1, pp. 55, 220 n. 17; vol. 2, pl. 86.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 11 (November 1952), p. 86.
Seymour Slive. Rembrandt and His Critics, 1630–1730. The Hague, 1953, p. 35 n. 4.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 3, calls it unfinished.
Otto Benesch. "Worldly and Religious Portraits in Rembrandt's Late Art." Art Quarterly 19 (Winter 1956), pp. 341–42 [reprinted in Eva Benesch, ed., "Otto Benesch: Collected Writings," London, vol. 1, 1971, p. 196].
A. H[yatt]. M[ayor]. "Collectors at Home." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (November 1957), p. 108, ill. (photograph of Huntington's library).
James Henry Duveen. The Rise of the House of Duveen. New York, 1957, pp. 232–33.
Neil MacLaren. The Dutch School. London, 1960, pp. 313–14 n. 17, under no. 54, as possibly depicting the same model as "A Woman Bathing in a Stream (Hendrickje Stoffels?)".
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. Pintura Europea Perdida por España de Van Eyck a Tiépolo. Madrid, 1964, p. 54, no. 176.
Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt: Life & Work. rev. ed. London, 1964, pp. 98, 348 n. 17, fig. 86.
Hermann Kühn. "Untersuchungen zu den Malgründen Rembrandts." Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg 2 (1965), p. 195, as having a white ground layer.
Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 26, pl. 522.
Christopher White. Rembrandt and His World. new ed. New York, 1966, ill. p. 117.
Horst Gerson. Rembrandt Paintings. Ed. Gary Schwartz. Amsterdam, 1968, p. 503, no. 382, ill. p. 435, as possibly the companion to MMA 14.40.618; states that the face is the best-preserved part of the picture.
Julius S. Held. Rembrandt's "Aristotle" and other Rembrandt Studies. Princeton, 1969, p. 96, fig. 8.
Paolo Lecaldano inL'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, p. 120, no. 382, ill.
Horst Gerson, ed. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. By A[braham]. Bredius. 3rd ed. London, 1969, p. 557, no. 118, ill. p. 106.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 172, 190 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Vitale Bloch. Rembrandt Today. Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 57, 67.
Hubert von Sonnenburg in "Technical Aspects: Scientific Examination." Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years. Chicago, 1973, p. 86.
Enrique Valdivieso. Pintura holandesa del siglo XVII en España. Valladolid, 1973, pp. 28–29, 354.
Christopher Brown inArt in Seventeenth Century Holland. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 1976, p. 75, under no. 91.
J. Bolten and H. Bolten-Rempt. The Hidden Rembrandt. Milan, 1977, p. 200, no. 500, ill.
Christopher Brown and Joyce Plesters. "Rembrandt's 'Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels'." Apollo 106 (October 1977), p. 288, call it the portrait of Hendrickje closest in style to the one in the National Gallery, London.
David M. Robb Jr. "Rembrandt's 'Portrait of a Young Jew'." Apollo 107 (January 1978), pp. 45–46.
Walter L. Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen. The Rembrandt Documents. New York, 1979, p. 454.
Maryan W. Ainsworth et al. Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. New York, 1982, p. 72, pls. 47–50 (overall, x-ray radiograph, and autoradiographs), based on technical analysis, notes that the face and left hand were reworked and given special attention, while the lower portion of the canvas shows little work and was possibly left unfinished by Rembrandt.
Jacques Foucart. Les peintures de Rembrandt au Louvre. Paris, 1982, p. 64.
Christopher Brown. Rembrandt. London, 1982, p. 35, pl. 26.
Gary Schwartz. Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings. New York, 1985, p. 294, fig. 327 (color), notes that there is no evidence to suggest that it may have been the pendant to MMA 14.40.618.
Christian Tümpel. Rembrandt: Mythos und Methode. Königstein, 1986, p. 411, no. 189, ill. p. 323 (color).
Christopher Brown inRembrandt and the Bible. Exh. cat., Sogo Museum of Art, Yokohama. [Tokyo], 1986, pp. 136, 155, under no. 13.
David Bomford et al. Art in the Making: Rembrandt. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 1988, pp. 16, 106, 108, fig. 82, as the pendant to MMA 14.40.618.
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, pp. 37, 40.
Pierre Cabanne. Rembrandt. [Paris], 1991, p. 152, no. 10, ill.
Christopher Brown inRembrandt, His Teachers and His Pupils. Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1992, pp. 74, 225, under no. 9.
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. 69, 78–80, no. 16, ill. (color), dates it about 1654–60.
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. 25, 54, 65–66, figs. 66 (color detail), 67 (x-radiograph detail).
Simon Schama. Rembrandt's Eyes. New York, 1999, p. 659.
Julia Lloyd Williams. Rembrandt's Women. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 2001, pp. 14, 218, 222–23, 260, no. 127, ill. (color), tentatively as Hendrickje Stoffels.
Volker Manuth. "'As stark naked as one could possibly be painted . . . ': The Reputation of the Nude Female Model in the Age of Rembrandt." Rembrandt's Women. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 2001, p. 50.
Jeroen Giltaij et al. Rembrandt Rembrandt. Exh. cat., Kyoto National Museum. Kyoto, 2002, pp. 146–49, no. 38, ill. (color, overall and details) [German ed., Frankfurt, 2003, pp. 189–92, no. 36, ill. (color, overall and detail)].
Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, pp. 208, 296, 363 nn. 98–99, pp. 374–75 n. 49, fig. 54.
Peter C. Sutton inRembrandt's Late Religious Portraits. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2005, pp. 117–18, 120, under no. 14.
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. inRembrandt's Late Religious Portraits. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2005, pp. 16, 85–88, 133–34, no. 5, ill. (color), as "Hendrickje Stoffels (as the Sorrowing Virgin?)".
León Krempel. Holländische Gemälde im Städel 1550–1800. Vol. 2, Künstler geboren 1615 bis 1630. Petersberg, Germany, 2005, pp. 147–48, fig. 108.
Lene Bøgh Rønberg inRembrandt? The Master and His Workshop. Exh. cat., Statens Museum for Kunst. [Copenhagen], 2006, pp. 69, 198–99, 250, 285–86, 294 n. 4 under no. 41, no. 15, ill. (color).
Michiel C. Plomp. "Rembrandt and His Circle: Drawings and Prints." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 64 (Summer 2006), p. 24, fig. 34 (color).
Katharine Baetjer inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2006, p. 18 [Catalan ed., Barcelona, 2006, p. 18].
Rembrandt, ego predshestvenniki i posledovateli. Exh. cat., State Pushkin Museum. Moscow, 2006, pp. 58–59, no. 37, ill. (color).
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 22–24, 28, 70, figs. 21 (Huntington library photograph), 23 (color).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. ix, 174; vol. 2, pp. 629, 669–76, no. 154, colorpl. 154, fig. 180, dates it to the mid-1650s, noting that "the awkwardly placed signature and date must have been added during a later period".
Dagmar Hirschfelder. Tronie und Porträt in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 2008, pp. 129, 424, no. 455, pl. 97, suggests that it is an imaginary figure rather than a portrait.
Eric Zafran. Rembrandt's People. Exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. [Hartford], 2009, p. 13, no. 4, ill. pp. 4, 12 (color, overall and detail).
Walter Liedtke. "Rembrandt Revelations at the Metropolitan Museum." Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, Beiheft: Wissenschaft auf der Suche 51 (2009), p. 46.
Dennis P. Weller inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 154, 169 n. 29, fig. 85 (color).
George S. Keyes inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 74, 84 n. 44.
Andrea Bayer inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 313, colorpl. 66.
Artist: Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)Date: ca. 1650Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, on paper washed with brownAccession: 29.100.939On view in:Not on view