Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669)

Landscape with three gabled Cottages beside a Road (B., Holl. 217; H. 246)

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669)
Landscape with three gabled Cottages beside a Road (B., Holl. 217; H. 246)
etching with drypoint, 1650, watermark Strasbourg Lily (Hinterding E.a.a), a very fine, atmospheric impression of the third, final state, printing with rich burr, horizontal wiping marks in the sky and selectively wiped platetone, with narrow margins on three sides, square corners and a thread margin above, a pale adhesive stain in the upper right corner outside the platemark, in very good condition, framed
P. 160 x 204 mm., S. 162 x 206 mm.
L. J. Rosenwald (b.1891), Philadelphia (L. 1760b).
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Landscape with Three Gabled Cottages is perhaps the most atmospheric rendering of a theme that appears repeatedly in Rembrandt's oeuvre - a view down a country lane lined with cottages. The print relates to the drawing Landscape with Cottages (Benesch 835) in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, which depicts a similar cluster of farm buildings, known as langhuizen (longhouses). The exact location of Rembrandt's subject has not been identified, however, the langhuizen were typical of the region around Amsterdam, particularly along the old roads, the Sloterweg, the Amstelveenseweg, and the Diemerdijk.

As the etching varies from the drawing in several respects, it is generally accepted that the artist composed the scene from more than one study. However, it has also been suggested that he may have begun work on the plate outdoors, completing it in the studio. This may explain the removal of a section of the tree, still faintly visible in the sky above the foliage over the central chimney. This combination of naturalistic observation and artistic invention is typical of many of Rembrandt's etched landscapes, where fidelity to the subject is subordinate to composition and atmosphere.

This print is the first example in which Rembrandt executed the preliminary design for the landscape in etching, followed by extensive use of drypoint to create the marvellous tonal contrasts which characterise these later works. In the earliest states of this print the pools of dense shadow raised by burr can be excessive, creating somewhat patchy areas of darkness which hinder its legibility. In the third state Rembrandt moderated these contrasts with additional drypoint lines and selectively wiped tone, creating a more modulated and balanced effect. This very fine impression from the Rosenwald collection, which forms the core of the print holdings of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, compares very well with both the Slade and Cacherode impressions in the British Museum. Early impressions, even of the third state, are rare to the market and are amongst the most desirable of Rembrandt's landscapes.

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