Though generally accepted by Rembrandt scholars until about 1940, this canvas was considered an eighteenth-century imitation by F. Schmidt-Degener in 1935. Supporting this view is the sketchy execution, which is superficially similar to that found in Rembrandt's "study heads" painted on a much smaller scale; the light chalk ground and the man's collar appears fancifully to adopt an older Dutch form. The palette, the loose brushwork, and the frontal presentation of the figure recall Rembrandt's style of about 1665. The date is inscribed on the picture, but the simple application of parallel brushstrokes, resulting in flat and insubstantial forms, the awkwardly abrupt contrasts of light and shade, and, finally, the absence of any convincing indication of personality or thought are entirely alien to the master's mature manner. Quite a few Rembrandt imitations and forgeries date from the eighteenth century in England, where this painting was first recorded in the collection of Sir William Knighton (died 1836)
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Man with a Beard
Artist:Style of Rembrandt (17th century or later)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:28 7/8 x 25 1/4 in. (73.3 x 64.1 cm)
Credit Line:Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889
Inscription: Inscribed (lower left): Rembrandt / f. 1665
?William Baillie (by 1763–at least 1764); ?sale, European Museum, London, February 1804, no. 1245, as "Portrait of His Father," by Rembrandt, engraved by Captain Baillie, ?bought in; ?sale, European Museum, London, May 8ff., 1804, no. 1245, as "Portrait of His Father," by Rembrandt, engraved by Captain Baillie; Sir William W. Knighton, 1st Baronet, London (until d. 1836); his son, Sir William Wellesley Knighton, 2nd Baronet, London and Blendworth Lodge, Hampshire (1836–d. 1885, his estate sale, Christie's, London, May 21–23, 1885, no. 484, as "Portrait of an Old Man," by Rembrandt, for £210 to Lesser); [Lesser Lesser, London, 1885–89]; Henry G. Marquand, New York (1889)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Exhibition of 1888–89," 1888–89, no. 1 or 2 (as "Portrait," by Rembrandt).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Temporary Exhibition," April 1906, no. 28 (as "Portrait of a Man," by Rembrandt).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 106.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Rembrandt," January 21–?, 1942, no catalogue.
Fort Worth Art Center. "Inaugural Exhibition," October 8–31, 1954, no. 82.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Fakes and Forgeries," July 11–September 29, 1973, no. 79.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 42.
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.
G. K. Nagler. Neues allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 5, Munich, 1837, p. 352, catalogues a mezzotint by John Greenwood as "Rembrandt's Father from the original Painting belonging to W. Baillie," the original possibly this picture.
Emile Michel. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, and His Time. English ed. New York, 1894, vol. 2, p. 247, as signed and dated 1665.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hand-Book No. 6. New York, 1894, p. 72, no. 277, gives provenance information.
Malcolm Bell. Rembrandt van Rijn and His Work. London, 1899, pp. 86, 184, no. 274.
Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. Vol. 7, Paris, 1902, pp. 5, 54, no. 496, ill. opp. p. 54, compares it with the Marquand "Portrait of a Man" (MMA 91.26.7), finding them both harsh in lighting and careless in handling.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906, p. 405, ill. p. 383.
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. 107, no. 106, ill. opp. p. 106.
Joseph Breck. "L'art hollandais à l'exposition Hudson-Fulton à New York." L'art flamand & hollandais 13, no. 2 (1910), p. 55, ill. opp. p. 52 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 17 (January 1910), p. 11, ill. opp. p. 12], states that it reflects the sadness of Rembrandt's last years.
E[mil]. Waldmann. "Die Ausstellung Holländischer Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts in New York." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 4 (1910), p. 77, ill. p. 74.
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. 354, no. 754.
D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, p. 203, pl. CCCCXXXVII.
Alan Burroughs. "Rembrandts in the Metropolitan Museum." The Arts 4 (November 1923), p. 268, calls it unfinished.
Connoisseur 79 (December 1927), ill. p. 199.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 165, pl. 165.
A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 13, no. 317, pl. 317, erroneously as in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Jakob Rosenberg. "Rembrandt's Technical Means and Their Stylistic Significance." Technical Studies 8 (1939–40), p. 203, fig. 4, calls it obviously unfinished and notes that "the ponderation which we usually find in Rembrandt's chiaroscuro is not yet achieved".
William M. Ivins Jr. "The Art of Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37 (January 1942), p. 3, ill. p. 11.
Introduction by William M. Ivins Jr. The Unseen Rembrandt. New York, 1942, pls. 29–30 (overall and detail).
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.
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.
A. Hyatt Mayor. "The Gifts that Made the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (November 1957), p. 100.
Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 48, no. 317, notes its acceptance by Bredius, but rejects the attribution to Rembrandt; suggests it was painted in the eighteenth century, perhaps in England.
Paolo Lecaldano inL'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, ill. p. 131, includes it among works of doubtful attribution.
Horst Gerson, ed. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings.. By A[braham]. Bredius. 3rd ed. London, 1969, p. 574, no. 317, ill. p. 244, notes that it was "rightly deleted from Rembrandt's works by Bauch" [see Ref. 1966].
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 74, 172 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Denys Sutton, ed. Letters of Roger Fry. New York, 1972, vol. 1, p. 255 n. 1 to letter no. 177 (March 2, 1906), lists it among works included in the 1906 exhibition.
Fakes and Forgeries. Exh. cat., Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Minneapolis, 1973, unpaginated, no. 79, ill., states that it was engraved by William Ballie [sic.] in 1764, noting that it was at least painted before that date.
Hubert von Sonnenburg. Letter to Samuel Sachs. July 2, 1973, states that the signature forms a homogeneous part of the paint layer and therefore leaves no doubt about the fraudulent intention.
Hubert von Sonnenburg. "Maltechnische Gesichtspunkte zur Rembrandtforschung." Maltechnik/Restauro 82, no. 1 (1976), pp. 17–19, ill., calls it an "old forgery", done after Rembrandt's time; states that it cannot be determined whether it was executed in eighteenth-century England [see Ref. Bauch 1966].
Maryan W. Ainsworth et al. Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. New York, 1982, p. 97 n. 5, as "missing the characteristic buildup of paint layers seen in autoradiographs of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings".
David Alexander inRembrandt in Eighteeenth-Century England. Exh. cat., Yale Center for British Art, Yale University. [New Haven], 1983, pp. 51, 58, under no. 104.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 231, notes that the Museum owned "two right and two wrong Rembrandts" by 1905.
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. 138–39, no. 42, ill. (color), as by an imitator of Rembrandt; dates it to the last quarter of the seventeenth century.
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. 7, 134–35, no. 42, ill. (color), calls it a Rembrandt forgery.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 321, ill., as Style of Rembrandt, 17th century or later.
Herbert Lank. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship." Studies in Conservation 41, no. 2 (1996), p. 123.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 11, 28.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 2, pp. 708, 776, 782–85, no. 178, colorpl. 178, attributes it to a Dutch imitator working between about 1680 and 1710.
George S. Keyes inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 66, 83 n. 16.
Two states of a mezzotint by John Greenwood, probably engraved after this picture, are in the New York Public Library (no. G30; call no. MEVG). One impression bears a penciled inscription on the reverse: "Rembrandt's father J. Greenwood fecit 1764, from original in possession of W. Baillie." According to Ref. Alexander 1983, Greenwood's journal reveals that he began work on the plate on October 6, 1763, completed it in December, and sold it shortly thereafter to the publisher John Boydell. Minneapolis 1973 states that it was engraved by William Baillie in 1764. Two sale catalogues of 1804 from the European Museum, London, [see ex colls.] list a portrait of Rembrandt's father, engraved by Baillie, possibly this picture. A copy of this picture was sold at Galerie Fievez, Brussels, on December 10, 1928, no. 96.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.