Jacob Jordaens (Antwerp 1593-1678)
Jacob Jordaens (Antwerp 1593-1678)

The head of a piper: Study for As the old sang, so the young pipe

Jacob Jordaens (Antwerp 1593-1678)
The head of a piper: Study for As the old sang, so the young pipe
black, red and white chalk, brown ink framing lines
6 1/8 x 5 ½ in. (15.5 x 14 cm.)
Probably the artist Isaac Walraven (1686-1765); Pieter Yver, Amsterdam, 14 October 1765, lot 783 ('Jacob Jordaens. 783. Een Mans Tronie van vooren te zien, met rood en zwart Kryt en gehoogd; zynde het Hoofd van de Zakpypblazer in de Prent, zo de oude Zongen, zo piepen de Jonge').
Cornelis Ploos van Amstel (1762-1798); possibly van der Schley, de Bosch, Yver and Roos, Amsterdam, 3 March 1800 et seq., folio Q, lot 76 ('Een dito dito [capitaal Mans Hoofd], op een Jagthoorn blaazende; krachtig met dito, door J. Jordaans'; 15 guilders to van der Schley).
Prince Wladimir Nikolaevich Argoutinsky-Dolgoroukoff (1874-1941) (L. 2602d); R.W.P. de Vries, Amsterdam, 27 March 1925, lot 170; where purchased by I.Q. van Regteren Altena for 23 guilders (Inventory book: '96. t. J. Jordaens zelfportret').
R.-A. d'Hulst, De tekeningen van Jacob Jordaens, Brussels, 1956, p. 350, under no. 74.
R.-A. d'Hulst, 'Enkele tekeningen van Jacob Jordaens', in Miscellanea I.Q. van Regteren Altena, Amsterdam, 1969, p. 112.
C. van Hasselt, Flemish Drawings of the Seventeenth Century from the Collection of Frits Lugt, Institut néerlandais, Paris, exhib. cat., London, Victoria and Albert Museum and other locations, 1972, p. 59, under no. 40, note 3.
J.I. Koeznetsov et al., Dessins flamands et hollandais du dix-septième siècle : collections de l'Ermitage, Leningrad et du Musée Pouchkine, Moscou, exhib. cat., Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert 1er, Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and Paris, Fondation Custodia, 1972, p. 92, under no. 58.
C. van Hasselt, Dessins flamands et hollandais du dix-septième siècle : collections musées de Belgique, Musée Boymans-Van Beuningen Rotterdam, Institut Néerlandais, Paris, exhib. cat., Paris, Fondation Custodia, 1974, p. 78, under no. 56.
R.-A. d'Hulst, Jordaens Drawings, Brussels, 1974, I, no. A128 and III, pl. 141.
M. Vandenven, in Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), exhib. cat., Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kusten, 1993, I, 'Paintings and Tapestries', under no. A55, fig. A55b, and II, 'Drawings and Prints', under no. B36.
Antwerp, Rubenshuis, and Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Tekeningen van Jacob Jordaens, 1966-67, no. 59 (as a study 'naar het leven'; catalogue by R.-A. d'Hulst).
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Paris, Fondation Custodia, and Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert 1er, Le Cabinet d’un Amateur: Dessins flamands et hollandais des XVIe et XVIIe siècles d’une collection privée d’Amsterdam, 1976-77, no. 80, pl. 108 (catalogue by J. Giltaij).

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Lot Essay

A preparatory study for one of Jordaens’s most enduringly popular compositions, As the old sang, so the young pipe, which survives in several versions: this drawing relates to the great picture in Antwerp (1638; Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp; Fig. 1). With the bagpipes indicated only with the faintest strokes of black chalk, this drawing focuses on the character of the young piper himself, with the humanity and humour typical of Jordaens’s genre drawings. The face is so individualised that, when I.Q. van Regteren Altena bought the drawing, it was thought to be a self portrait of the artist. However, there can be no doubt about its connection with the celebrated picture, and the link with the composition had been known from an early date. It had formerly been part of two of the greatest Dutch collections formed in the 18th Century: those of the painters Isaac Walraven (1686-1765) and Cornelis Ploos van Amstel (1726-1798), and in Walraven's 1765 sale catalogue it had already been described as a study for 'zo de oude Zongen, zo piepen de Jonge', albeit referring to a print of the subject.

The proverb was included by Jacob Cats (1577-1660) in his Spiegel van den Ouden en de Nieuwen Tijdt (The Hague, 1932, II, p. 13), and was one of many moralistic themes popular in 17th-Century Antwerp. It warned parents that their children would naturally grow up to emulate their own behaviour, whether for good or ill. Jordaens would go on to make several autograph versions of the painting, which testifies to its success among his contemporaries. The composition of the Antwerp painting was repeated in one of a series of moralistic tapestries, which were commissioned from Jordaens in 1644, and for which a coloured modello survives in the National Gallery of Scotland (K. Andrews, Catalogue of Netherlandish Drawings in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1985, I, no. D1192). Two other closely-related studies of bagpipers are known, though neither of them was used for the Antwerp picture. One is in the Fondation Custodia, Paris (d'Hulst, op. cit., no. A129) and the second is in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (d'Hulst, op. cit., no. A127).

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