Copy after Willem Drost (Dutch, late 17th or early 18th century)
Oil on canvas
33 1/8 x 24 1/2 in. (84.1 x 62.2 cm)
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Not on view
The sitter bears a resemblance to Hendrickje Stoffels (born about 1625–26, died 1663), Rembrandt's common-law wife and the subject of a number of his portraits, one of which is in the Metropolitan. The picture is the work of a pupil of Rembrandt, and the strong light striking the face suggests that it may be by Barent Fabritius. Another version is in Dresden.
The painting is an anonymous copy of Drost's Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace of about 1654 (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden). Its age is difficult to determine, but a date in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century would appear likely. Compared with the original, the modeling of the face is schematic and descriptive qualities are simplified throughout, so that the precise nature of the cap, jacket, and fur wrap (draped over the woman's right arm) is unclear. The collar of the white blouse is especially conspicuous in its failure to resemble the counterpart in Dresden—or, for that matter, any kind of cloth (something like white-glazed earthenware comes to mind). The woman's expression, which in Dresden is reflective and evocative, is here rather vapid.
The picture was first published by Hofstede de Groot (1909) as Rembrandt's apparent portrait of his common-law wife Hendrickje Stoffels (compare 26.101.9, known previously only through a "copy" in Dresden attributed to Barent Fabritius. Actually, the model for the original version of this fancy picture, or tronie, may have been Drost's companion, not Rembrandt's, although the resemblance between the young woman in the Dresden painting and the figure in Drost's Portrait of a Woman (the Painter's Fiancée?) (Museum Bredius, The Hague) is less striking than in other paintings of about 1654. Van Dyke (1923) was the first author to reject the attribution to Rembrandt, calling it probably a work by Fabritius. The Met changed its attribution to Fabritius in 1937, and from "Attributed to Barent Fabritius" to "Copy after Willem Drost" in 1991.
[2016; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Inscribed (lower right): [illegible]
John Osmaston, Hawkhurst Court, Billinghurst, Sussex; [Lesser, London, in 1909]; [Duveen, London, until 1910; sold for $136,360 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1910–d. 1913)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 30.
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.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. "Œuvres de Rembrandt nouvellement découvertes." L'art flamand & hollandais 12, no. 12 (1909), pp. 167–68, fig. 7 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 16 (December 1909), p. 181, fig. 7], as in the possession of Lesser, London; attributes it to Rembrandt, calls it a portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels, and dates it to the artist's best period; identifies the painting in Dresden [see Notes], then attributed to Barent Fabritius, as a copy.
Wilhelm von Bode. Letter to Mr. Duveen. February 2, 1910, attributes it to Rembrandt, identifies the sitter as Hendrickje Stoffels, and dates it about 1656.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. New York, 1914, pp. 21–22, no. 13, as Hendrickje Stoffels by Rembrandt, from the collection of J. Osmaston.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "The Rembrandts of the Altman Collection: I." Art in America 2 (August 1914), pp. 358, 361, calls it a portrait of Hendrickje by Rembrandt of 1656.
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. 719, as Hendrickje Stoffels by Rembrandt; dates it about 1658; calls the painting in Dresden [see Notes] a copy after this work by Bernaert Fabritius; gives provenance information.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt wiedergefundene Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1921, pp. XXIII, 133, ill. p. 87, dates it about 1658.
Abraham Bredius. "Wiedergefundene 'Rembrandts'." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 32 (1921), p. 151, rejects the attribution to Rembrandt, assigning it to a student, possibly Barent Fabritius.
François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), p. 302, rejects the attribution to Rembrandt, calling it probably a study by Maes during his time in Rembrandt's workshop; refers to it as "le portrait supposé de Hendrickje Stoffels".
John C. van Dyke. Rembrandt and His School. New York, 1923, pp. 77–78, pl. XIV-52, as probably by Barent Fabritius; questions the identification of the sitter as Hendrickje, while listing three more pictures of the same model.
Alan Burroughs. "Rembrandts in the Metropolitan Museum." The Arts 4 (November 1923), p. 272, calls it "the so-called 'Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels,' a weak study identical with one by B. Fabritius in the Dresden Gallery, and probably painted by a fellow pupil".
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1928, pp. 64–65, no. 30.
Katalog der alten Meister. 12th ed. Dresden, 1930, p. 67, under no. 1591, attributes the Dresden picture to Drost and calls it a copy after the MMA painting by Rembrandt.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 136, pl. 136, calls the attribution to Rembrandt "not quite certain" and adds that the picture is very close to the work of Barent Fabritius, "whose similar although somewhat weaker painting is preserved in the Dresden Gallery".
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Willem Drost: Pupil of Rembrandt." Art Quarterly 2 (Autumn 1939), p. 318, fig. 24, attributes it to Barent Fabritius and calls it a copy after the picture in Dresden, which he attributes to Drost.
D. Pont. Barent Fabritius, 1624–1673. Utrecht, 1958, p. 133, includes it among pictures he has not seen and therefore declines to offer an attribution.
Benjamin A. Rifkin. "Rembrandt and His Circle, Part I." Art News 68 (May 1969), p. 27, attributes it to Barent Fabritius and calls it a copy after the painting by Drost in Dresden.
Werner Sumowski. "Beiträge zu Willem Drost." Pantheon 27 (September–October 1969), p. 382 n. 13, under no. 3, calls it a copy after the Dresden picture, which he attributes to Drost.
Werner Sumowski. Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. Vol. 1, J. A. Backer–A. van Dijck. Landau/Pfalz, 1983–[94?], p. 616, under no. 332, calls it a copy, with some changes in the costume, after Drost's painting in Dresden, which he dates about 1654.
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. 108, 110–11, 119, no. 30, ill. (color), as "Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace"; calls it a copy after Drost, but rejects an attribution to Barent Fabritius.
Jonathan Bikker. "Willem Drost (1633–1658): A Rembrandt Pupil in Amsterdam, Rome, and Venice." PhD diss., Universiteit Utrecht, 2001, p. 85, under no. 7, fig. 7a, lists it as a copy after the Dresden picture.
Jonathan Bikker. Willem Drost (1633–1659): A Rembrandt Pupil in Amsterdam and Venice. New Haven, 2005, p. 67, under no. 7, fig. 7a.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), p. 35.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 178–80, no. 40, colorpl. 40, states that "a date in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century would appear likely".