Jan Lutma, Goldsmith

Jan Lutma, Goldsmith
etching with engraving and drypoint
on laid paper, watermark Foolscap with seven-pointed Collar (Hinterding A.b)
a superb, very atmospheric impression of this important portrait
first state (of five)
printing with exceptional chiaroscuro effects, with rich velvety burr throughout
with a subtle, warm plate tone and small, selectively wiped highlights on the collar and elsewhere
with wide margins
in very good condition
Plate 228 x 176 mm.
Sheet 249 x 198 mm.
Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934), London (Lugt 1375); his sale, H.G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 12-14 May 1910, lot 693 ('Abdruck von unübertrefflicher Schönheit und Frische des 1. Zustandes auf Schellenkappepapier, tadellos erhalten und mit breitem Rand. Eins der schönsten bekannten Exemplare und in diesem frühen Zustand von allergrösster Seltenheit.') (Mk. 28,000; to Colnaghi; this impression cited in Lugt).
With P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (without their stocknumber).
Albert William Scholle (1860-1917), San Francisco & New York (Lugt 2923a).
Charles C. Cunningham Jr. (b. 1934), Boston (Lugt 4684).
Sam Josefowitz (Lugt 6094, on the support sheet verso); acquired from the above in 1980 (through Robert M. Light); then by descent to the present owners.
Bartsch, Hollstein 276; Hind 290; New Hollstein 293 (this impression cited)
Stogdon 118
Les Musées d'Art et d'Histoire, Cabinet des Éstampes. Geneva, États & Achèvement dans la Gravure du XVI au XX Siècle, 1986.

Brought to you by

Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

Lot Essay

One can hardly disagree with Heinrich Gutekunst, who presumably catalogued this impression in May 1910 for the Theobald sale, when he described it as 'of insurpassable beauty' and 'one of the most beautiful known examples'. When seen in person, it is indeed an astonishing object, both in the quality of the printing and the freshness of its condition, and it is intriguing to think where Theobald might have made this extraordinary find.
The etched portraits of the late 1650's are arguably Rembrandt's greatest and most elaborate. During this period he portrayed a number of fellow artists, collectors, publishers and craftsmen – men whom he respected and was friendly with. While his family portraits are mostly quick, spontaneous sketches, these more formal portraits are complex investigations into the character of his sitters. The present portrait of the goldsmith Jan Lutma is perhaps one of the most captivating portraits of all.
Jan Lutma (c.1584-1669) was one of the leading goldsmiths and jewellers in Amsterdam at the time, and a great collector of prints – his son Jan Lutma the Younger was an etcher. There is a gentle pride in the way the aging craftsman presents himself, seated in a large armchair, surrounded by the accoutrements and products of his profession. A hammer and punches are placed on the table next to him, there is a chased silver bowl, and in his right hand he holds a figurine or candlestick.
Yet Rembrandt shows him sunk deep in thought, almost unaware or simply uninterested in the act of portrayal. His eyes are shadowed and half-closed, attesting to the fact that his eyesight was beginning to wane. This work is testament to Rembrandt’s skill and deeply considered approach to his sitter; he conveys the sense of gentle resignation, as Lutma’s passion for his work is threatened by his age and failing eyesight – an issue of some concern to Rembrandt himself.
Few portraits in Rembrandt’s graphic oeuvre convey a stronger sense of atmosphere and personal presence and are more convincing in the depiction of the textures and surfaces than fine, first-state impressions of Jan Lutma, Goldsmith.

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