Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

Woman Sitting Half Dressed Beside a Stove , 1658

Etching, engraving, and drypoint on Japanese paper

220 x 187 mm. 8 5/8 x 7 3/8 in.

Above $100,000

David Tunick, Inc.

New York, NY



Dimensions: 220 x 187 mm. 8 5/8 x 7 3/8 in. Reference: Bartsch 197; New Hollstein 307, undescribed stated sixth and seventh of seven, with the scratch removed but before the extensive rework, e.g., in the oval in the stove above the woman’s head Provenance: R.S., probably Lugt 1956 (unidentified); Private European Collection; to Estate of same In 1658 Rembrandt etched his four finest studies of the female nude. Of these the present print is the largest and most worked stylistically and compositionally. Through at least seven lifetime states, Rembrandt heightened the dramatic effect of the print by amplifying the chiaroscuro, bringing out a variety of textures, and redefining the space around the woman. The artist utilized a variety of printmaking techniques to accomplish his vision. The thick mesh of etched lines that make up the woman’s skirt contrast against the whiteness of the shift beside her and the schematic lines that roughly outline it. He also skillfully differentiated between the texture of the woman’s bare flesh, her wispy hair, the cold walls, and the warm stove. In earlier states the woman wears a white cap and the stove is missing its damper key. The artist added the key in the fourth state and removed the model’s cap in the sixth state. Rembrandt’s critics, such as Arnold Houbraken, attributed these changes to the artist’s wish to make sales, because contemporary print collectors would go to great lengths to obtain each state of a given Rembrandt print. Other scholars have attributed the changes to an attempt by the artist to balance the composition, citing the white cap as an unnecessary focus of light. Most recently Robert Fucci has put forward an interesting narrative interpretation of the print’s evolution. He relates the addition of the damper key and the removal of the cap to the theme of warmth, pointing out that the artist has also placed a pot of coals beneath the chair. The key served to regulate airflow in the flue, while the removal of the cap would have also allowed the model to take control in part of her own body temperature. In the present impression the golden glow of the Japanese paper adds an additional element of warmth to the scene. Possibly unique in this heretofore undescribed state.