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Landscape with a square Tower

Landscape with a square Tower
etching and drypoint, 1650, on laid paper, without watermark, a very fine and atmospheric impression of New Hollstein's third, final state, with the diagonal slipped stroke across the signature, with considerable burr, the vertical wiping marks and other accidental marks in the sky very pronounced, with a light plate tone and inky plate edges, with small margins, in very good condition
Plate 88 x 157 mm., Sheet 94 x 163 mm.
Fritz Rumpf (1856-1927), Frankfurt am Main and Potsdam (Lugt 2161); his sale, H.G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 18-23 May 1908, lot 1286 ('Brillanter früher Abdruck. Sehr selten.') (Mk. 1250; to Meder).
With Louis Meder (of Amsler & Ruthardt), Berlin.
Leslie E. Lancy (1911-1996), Ellwood City, Pennsylvania (Lugt 4796).
With Pace Prints, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Bartsch, Hollstein 218; Hind 245; New Hollstein 250
Cynthia P. Schneider, Rembrandts Landscapes Drawings and Prints, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (exh. cat)., 1990, no. 36, p. 152-3 (another impression illustrated).
Erik Hinterding, Rembrandt Etchings from the Frits Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris, 2008, no. 170, p. 399-401 (another impression illustrated).
Nicholas Stogdon, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etchings by Rembrandt in a Private Collection, Switzerland, privately printed , 2011, no. 95, p. 162-3 (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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Lot Essay

Landscape with a square Tower is a wonderful example of Rembrandt's skill in combining both real and imaginary motifs in his landscapes. Whilst the smaller buildings were typical of farms around Amsterdam, the topography is similar to the hilly landscape between Amersfoort and Rhenen. In 1649, Rembrandt travelled with Hendrickje Stoffels to Bredevoort (near Winterswijk) close to the eastern border with Germany, to visit Hendrickje's parents. The route they took can be reconstructed from his drawings, and here we see elements of the landscape they encountered. Dutch artists often included ruins in their landscapes to convey a moral message about the inevitable passage of time and the fragility of man's endeavours, but here the past and present co-exist peacefully, and therefore it need not be interpreted strictly according to this convention.
Some commentators believe the imaginary element, such as the ruined tower in the present etching, signalled a waning interest in strict landscape, and a desire to move beyond the realistic vocabulary with which Rembrandt had described the Dutch landscape through most of the 1640s. Rembrandt continued to produce both real and imaginary views for two more years, before ceasing altogether in 1652. The only landscapes produced after this time were backdrops for figures in outdoor settings.
Despite the glitch across the signature, the present impression must be a relatively early example of the third, final state, still printing with much burr and tone, in particular in the foreground, and with the vertical wiping marks and the scratches in the sky very prominent. It is these more informal, impermanent elements of the print which create a sense of depth and atmosphere, inviting the eye to wander past the farmhouses, over the fence and up the hill towards the mysterious tower.

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