Rembrandt had a large studio with many pupils who emulated his style and even his signature. As a result, fierce debate about the authorship of his paintings continues today. This work was universally attributed to Rembrandt until scholars "demoted" it in 1982, arguing that the rendering of space, texture, and anatomy suggests a skillful imitation by an unknown artist. In the absence of documentation or conclusive evidence from technical analysis, the debate goes on.
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Title:Portrait of a Man ("The Auctioneer")
Artist:Follower of Rembrandt (Dutch, third quarter 17th century)
Date:probably ca. 1658–62
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:42 3/4 x 34 in. (108.6 x 86.4 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Inscription: Inscribed (on book): Rembrandt / f.1658.
sale, Amsterdam, May 23, 1798, no. 156, for 450 florins to Roos; marchese d'Vrea, Genoa; cavaliere Domenico Odone, Genoa and Vienna (by 1857–before 1875; sold through Miethke to Lippmann-Lissingen); Joseph Ritter von Lippmann-Lissingen, Vienna (by 1875–76; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 16, 1876, no. 35, for Fr 175,000 to Wilson); John Waterloo Wilson, Brussels (1876–at least 1886; his sale, Paris, March 14–16, 1881, no. 91, for Fr 200,000, bought in); Wilbrenninck, The Hague; [Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris]; Maurice Kann, Paris (by 1901–d. 1906; his estate, 1906–9; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, Paris, 1909; sold for $262,980 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1909–d. 1913)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 104B (as "Portrait of a Young Man [called 'Thomas Jacobsz Haring']," lent by B. Altman, New York).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Rembrandt," January 21–?, 1942, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 32.
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.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met," October 16, 2018–October 4, 2020, no catalogue.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
Otto Mündler. Diary entry. May 4, 1857, p. 85v [published in Carol Togneri Dowd, ed. "The Travel Diaries of Otto Mündler, 1855–1858," Walpole Society 51 (1985), p. 153], mentions seeing it in the collection of cavaliere Odone, who demanded Fr 60,000 for it.
C. Vosmaer. "Der Auctionär, von Rembrandt." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 10 (1875), p. 319, ill. opp. p. 318 (etching by W. Unger).
"Ventes prochaines: Collection Lissingen." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts no. 11 (March 11, 1876), p. 95.
C. Vosmaer. Rembrandt, sa vie et ses ouevres. 2nd ed. The Hague, 1877, pp. 356, 559, states that Lippmann identifies the sitter as Thomas Jacobszoon Haring [Thomas Jacobsz Haeringh], and accepts this identification.
Paul Eudel. L'Hôtel Drouot en 1881. Paris, 1882, pp. 70–71.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei. Braunschweig, 1883, pp. 534, 598, sees the same subject in a bust-length study, dated 1659, in the collection of Consul E. Weber in Hamburg (MMA 49.7.36); based on similarities with the 1655 engraving [see Notes] accepts the identification with Haeringh.
Eugène Dutuit. Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt. Paris, 1885, pp. 21–22, 53, 62, 69, no. 215, as perhaps depicting Haeringh; mentions a second, smaller engraving made of this picture for the Lippmann-Lissingen sale catalogue [by Unger?].
Alfred von Wurzbach. Rembrandt-galerie. Stuttgart, 1886, text vol, pp. 76–77, no. 331.
Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. Vol. 6, Paris, 1901, p. 23, no. 458, pl. 458, as "A Young Man Holding a Note-book in Both Hands, said to be the Auctioneer Haring," in the collection of Maurice Kann; gives later provenance as Wilbrenninck collection, The Hague, and Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris; states that it was exhibited at the Royal Gallery in The Hague in 1892; finds the age of the subject incompatible with the Haeringh identification, and notes that the notebook and bust may indicate that the sitter was an amateur of literature and art.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt und seine Umgebung. Strasbourg, 1905, p. 51, identifies the sitter as the artist's son Titus.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906, p. 417, ill. p. 327, as a portrait of a young man.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Ed. W. R. Valentiner. 3rd ed. Stuttgart, 1909, p. 562, ill. p. 417, tentatively as Rembrandt's son Titus.
Auguste Marguillier. "Collection de feu M. Maurice Kann." Les arts 8 (April 1909), p. 16, ill. p. 14, tentatively as the younger Haeringh.
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. 147, no. 104B, ill. opp. p. 147, rejects the identification with Haeringh, stating that it more likely depicts Titus van Rijn.
Wilhelm von Bode. La Collection Maurice Kann. Paris, 1911, p. 8, as the younger Haeringh.
Theodor von Frimmel. Lexikon der Wiener Gemäldesammlungen. Vol. 2, Munich, 1914, pp. 545, 548, no. 35.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. New York, 1914, p. 18, no. 10.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "The Rembrandts of the Altman Collection: I." Art in America 2 (August 1914), p. 351, as a portrait of Titus.
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. 355, no. 756.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Amerikanische Privatsammlungen." Kunst und Künstler 18 (1920), p. 347, ill. p. 361, as Titus van Rijn.
François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), p. 306, ill. p. 305, as an auctioneer.
D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, p. 200, pl. CCCLXI.
Alan Burroughs. "Rembrandts in the Metropolitan Museum." The Arts 4 (November 1923), p. 270, ill.
Connoisseur 81 (April 1928), ill. p. 223.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 135, pl. 135, as "Young Man with a Notebook in His Hand"; states that Titus was most likely the model, and calls it "a composition which probably had imaginary meaning".
A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 13, no. 294, pl. 294.
William M. Ivins Jr. "The Art of Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37 (January 1942), p. 3.
Introduction by William M. Ivins Jr. The Unseen Rembrandt. New York, 1942, pls. 17–18 (overall and detail).
Julius S. Held. "Rembrandt: The Self-Education of an Artist." Art News 40 (February 1–14, 1942), p. 28, ill. p. 12.
Josephine L. Allen. "The Museum's Rembrandts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), p. 73.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 82.
Otto Benesch. "Worldly and Religious Portraits in Rembrandt's Late Art." Art Quarterly 19 (Winter 1956), pp. 340–41, fig. 5, calls it a portrait of a middle-aged man, holding a pamphlet, dated 1657 [sic].
Hermann Kühn. "Untersuchungen zu den Malgründen Rembrandts." Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg 2 (1965), p. 198.
Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 22, pl. 422, tentatively as a portrait of a writer.
Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann inEncyclopedia of World Art. Vol. 11, New York, 1966, col. 933, lists it among portraits of unidentified sitters.
Kenneth Clark. Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance. London, 1966, p. 77.
Horst Gerson. Rembrandt Paintings. Ed. Gary Schwartz. Amsterdam, 1968, p. 501, no. 340, ill. p. 405.
Paolo Lecaldano inL'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, p. 119, no. 368, ill.
Horst Gerson, ed. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings.. By A[braham]. Bredius. 3rd ed. London, 1969, p. 572, no. 294, ill. p. 224.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 172–73 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Francis Haskell. "The Benjamin Altman Bequest." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 265–66.
Julius S. Held. "Rembrandt and the Classical World." Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years. Chicago, 1973, p. 52.
A. B. de Vries. "Nog eens Saul en David in het Mauritshuis." Album Amicorum J.G. van Gelder. Ed. J[osua]. Bruyn et al. The Hague, 1973, p. 350, fig. 8.
J. Bolten and H. Bolten-Rempt. The Hidden Rembrandt. Milan, 1977, p. 199, no. 484, ill.
Anthony Bailey. Rembrandt's House. Boston, 1978, p. 180.
Walter L. Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen. The Rembrandt Documents. New York, 1979, p. 408.
Maryan W. Ainsworth et al. Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. New York, 1982, p. 87, pls. 59–62 (overall, x-ray radiograph, and autoradiographs), states that autoradiographs reveal aspects of technique inconsistent with Rembrandt's works of the 1650s.
Christian Tümpel. Rembrandt: Mythos und Methode. Königstein, 1986, p. 430, no. A94, ill. p. 336, as by an artist in Rembrandt's circle.
Paul Jeromack. "Être Rembrandt ou ne plus l'être." Connaissance des Arts no. 441 (November 1988), p. 103, ill.
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. 48, fig. 36 (Altman gallery installation).
Pierre Cabanne. Rembrandt. [Paris], 1991, p. 152, no. 2, ill.
Walter Liedtke. "Some Paintings not by Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum." Rembrandt and His Pupils. Ed. Görel Cavalli-Björkman. Stockholm, 1993, pp. 123–25, fig. 3.
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. 32, 115–17, no. 32, ill. (color), and on cover (color), as by a follower of Rembrandt; dates it about 1655–60, and states that it represents a scholar in his study.
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. 6, 31, 49–50, 118, 130, no. 32, figs. 3 (view of Paintings Conservation studio), 16 (autoradiograph detail), 52 (color detail), 53 (x-radiograph detail), 58 (color detail), 59 (x-radiograph detail), and ill. p. 119 (color).
William Grimes. "An Enigma Sometimes Wrapped in a Fake." New York Times (October 1, 1995), p. H34, ill. pp. H1 and H34.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 318, ill., as "Portrait of a Man ("The Auctioneer")," by Follower of Rembrandt, Dutch, second or third quarter 17th century.
Herbert Lank. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship." Studies in Conservation 41, no. 2 (1996), p. 124.
Paul Broekhoff and Michiel Franken. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship." Simiolus 25, no. 1 (1997), p. 76.
Christopher Wright. Rembrandt. Paris, 2000, p. 226, fig. 218 (color).
Meryle Secrest. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004, pp. 280, 476.
Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, p. 363 n. 99.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 31–32, 35, 38, figs. 32 (Altman gallery photograph), 40 (color, MMA Altman gallery photograph).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 2, pp. 629, 708, 762–66, 768, 776, no. 173, colorpl. 173, states that it "has not been convincingly attributed to any particular pupil or follower of Rembrandt," and that it "probably dates from the second half of the 1650s to the early 1660s".
Walter Liedtke inPhilippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008. New York, 2009, p. 40, fig. 50 (color detail).
George S. Keyes inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 73–74, 84 n. 41.
Marco M. Mascolo. "Benjamin Altman’s Loans to the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 160 (April 2018), pp. 306–10, fig. 1, ill. p. 271 (color, overall and detail).
The sitter was once identified as Thomas Jacobsz Haeringh, the auctioneer of Rembrandt's possessions in 1658 (see Vosmaer 1877). This identification is probably based on similarities with a Rembrandt etching of "Young Haaring" from 1655. It was, however, his father, "Old Haaring"—etched by Rembrandt about the same time—who served as Rembrandt's auctioneer.
This work may not be lent, by terms of its acquisition by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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