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    Sale 11965

    Fifty Prints by Rembrandt van Rijn A Private English Collection

    5 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 44

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

    Abraham entertaining the Angels

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
    Abraham entertaining the Angels
    etching and drypoint, 1656, on laid paper, partial watermark Arms of Amsterdam (similar to Hinterding N-a), a very good impression of New Hollstein's only state, printing with touches of burr, with considerable plate tone and inky plate edges, with margins, in very good condition
    Plate 158 x 132 mm., Sheet 163 x 137 mm.


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    This scene from the Old Testament depicts the moment the long tested Abraham is given the news, as he is hosting three strangers who reveal themselves as two angels and the Lord Himself, that his wife Sarah would bear him a son within a year. As the devout Abraham serves his divine guests and bows humbly, Sarah listens in from behind the door and smiles in disbelief. Unusually for the time, Rembrandt chose to distinguish God clearly from the two angels, who themselves are friendly, yet rather pedestrian looking individuals, a far cry from the angelic stereotype. The composition of the figures seated in a semi-circle on the ground in front of a food platter is based on a Mogul miniature, which Rembrandt knew and copied in a drawing (now in the British Museum), dated around the same time as the present print. The miniature itself has also survived and is kept at the Albertina in Vienna. The plate is also in existence and was rediscovered at Christie's in 1997 on the back of an oil painting by Pieter Gysels (1620-91). It is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

    The present impression compares well with the Cracherode impression (F,4 .41) in the British Museum.

    Provenance

    Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Lugt 261 verso & Lugt 1741 recto), Brussels; presumably with their de-accession stamp (not found in Lugt).
    Ducs d'Arenberg, Brussels & Nordkirchen (Lugt 567).
    Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern, 21 November 1958, lot 217 (to Eisemann, presumably for Colnaghi).
    With Colnaghi, London (their stock number C. 30726 in pencil verso).
    Acquired from the above, 2 March 1959 (£140).


    Literature

    Bartsch, Hollstein 29; Hind 286; New Hollstein 295 (only state).