This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

The Three Trees

The Three Trees
etching with engraving and drypoint, 1643, on laid paper, watermark Foolscap with five-pointed Collar (Hinterding A-a-a), a brilliant, early impression of this highly important subject, printing very richly and darkly, with intense contrasts and bright highlights, the burr and sulphur tinting in the sky very pronounced, with small margins
Plate 212 x 278 mm.
Sheet 218 x 283 mm.
Christiaan Josi (1768-1828), Amsterdam and London (see Lugt 573, without mark); his posthumous sale, Christie's, London, 18-21 March 1829, lot 83 ' Most Brilliant Impression' (£12; to Seguier).
William Seguier (1771-1843), London (Lugt 2277), acquired at the above sale; his posthumous sale, Christie's, London, 29 April - 3 May 1844, lot 431 (£23-12-6; to Hawkins).
John Heywood Hawkins (1803-1877), London and Bignor Park, Sussex, his purchase price inscribed in Greek letters (see Lugt 3023); acquired at the above sale.
Probably with Colnaghi & Co., London; acquired from the above.
Walter Francis Duke of Buccleuch (1806-1884), London & Dalkeith, Scotland (Lugt 402); probably acquired from the above; his posthumous sale, Christie's, London, 19-22 April 1887, lot 1954 ('from the Seguier and Hawkins Collections') (£165; to Meder).
With Louis Gerhard Meder (1848-1924) (of Amsler & Ruthardt), Berlin; presumably acquired on behalf of the below.
Sammlung der Königlichen Museen, Berlin, dated 1887 (Lugt 1610); presumably acquired from the above; with their de-accession stamp (Lugt 2482); their sale, Amsler & Ruthardt, Berlin, 6 March 1899 (and following days), lot 1600 ('Die Gewitterlandschaft mit den drei Bäumen. S. 212. Des Meisters Hauptblatt unter den Landschaften; das prachtvolle Exemplar der Sammlung Buccleuch, auf Schellenkappenpapier und mit 3 mm Rand ringsum. Exemplare von der Schönheit und vortrefflichen Erhaltung des vorliegenden sind von höchster Seltenheit und Kostbarkeit.'). (Mk 2460; to Elischer).
Dr. Julius Elischer von Thurzóbánya (1846-1909), Budapest (Lugt 824, stamped twice).
With Kennedy Galleries, New York (with their stocknumber a48042 in pencil verso).
Robert Woods Bliss (1875-1962) and Mildred Barnes Bliss (1879–1969), Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. (Lugt 2004a); presumably acquired from the above.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington D.C; presumably part of the donation from the above.
With R.M. Light & Co., Santa Barbara, California.
Acquired from the above on 31 January 1980; then by descent to the present owner.
Bartsch, Hollstein 212; Hind 205; New Hollstein 214
Cynthia P. Schneider, Rembrandt’s Landscapes – Drawings and Prints, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (exh. cat)., 1990, no. 75, p. 240-42 (another impression illustrated).
Erik Hinterding, Rembrandt Etchings from the Frits Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris, 2008, no. 167, p. 390-93 (another impression illustrated).
Nicholas Stogdon, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etchings by Rembrandt in a Private Collection, Switzerland, privately printed , 2011, no. 93, p. 158-9 (another impression illustrated).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

Lot Essay

The Three Trees is one of the most celebrated and memorable landscapes in the history of western art. It is immensely pleasurable to let one's eye wander from the dark shadowy foreground across the plain to the distant skyline of the city and the edge of the shimmering sea beyond, and to pick out all the minute detail along the way: the pair of lovers, almost invisibly hidden in the thicket beneath the hill at right, the heron as it just flies out of the tree, the cowherd standing on the plain, the wagon moving along the crest of the hill, and the draftsman seated on the top, looking towards and sketching a landscape we cannot see, and many others.
Yet the true subject of the print is not so much the panorama itself, nor the allegorically charged three trees, which can be read as a reference to the Three Crosses of the Crucifixion. More than anything else, the weather is the real protagonist of Rembrandt's print. As a portrayal of meteorological phenomena, it prompts comparisons with Giorgione's Tempesta, or even with the rain and snow images of the Japanese ukiyo-e-masters. What makes this print so engaging is the spectacle of the thunder storm as it rises over the landscape in summer, still partly basked in sunlight, but soon to be covered in clouds and drenched in rain.
Rembrandt employed every printmaking technique available to him - etching, engraving, drypoint and sulphur tinting - on this plate to create the most complex and painterly of all his landscape prints.

Although each differs slightly in character and nuances, this impression compares well with the Cracherode, Slade and Salting impressions in the British Museum. The Salting impression is printed on a sheet of paper with the same Foolscap watermark. According to Hinterding's census, this paper has not been used by Rembrandt for prints made after 1643, thus confirming the printing date of this sheet. He records a total of twenty examples on this paper stock in major collections.

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