Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Leiden 1606-1669 Amsterdam)
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The Landscape with the Cow

The Landscape with the Cow
etching and drypoint, circa 1650, on laid paper, partial watermark Fool’s Cap with five-pointed Collar (Hinterding K-a-a/b), a brilliant, early and very atmospheric impression of New Hollstein’s second state (of five), printing with a rich, varied and selectively wiped plate tone and much burr, the wiping marks in the sky printed strongly, inky plate edges in places, with margins, a small repair in the sky at right, some minor creases, otherwise in very good condition, framed
Plate 4 1/8 x 5 ¼ in. (10.3 x 13 cm.)
Sheet 4 ½ x 5 ½ in. (11.5 x 14.1 cm.)
Herman de Kat (1784-1865), Barendrecht (not in Lugt); his sale (†), Lamme, Rotterdam, 30 October 1867, lot 1498 (‘Labreuvoir de la vache. B. 237. Sup. Épr.‘) (f 115, to Prestel).
(Probably) with F.A.C. Prestel, Frankfurt am Main, where probably acquired by
Dr. August Sträter (1810-1897), Aachen (Lugt 787); his sale (†), H.G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 10-14 May 1898, lot 821 (‘Unvergleichlich schöner Abzug, voll Grat und Plattenschmutz…. Sammlung de Kat‘), where acquired for 710 DM by the following
Valentin Weisbach (1843-1899), Berlin (see Lugt 2539b; without his mark), acquired through Louis Meder at the above sale; then by descent to his son Werner.
Werner Weisbach (1873-1953), Berlin and Basel (Lugt 2659a; this impression cited); his sale (†), Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern, 11 March 1954, lot 246 (CHF 4,600, to Boerner).
with C.G. Boerner, Düsseldorf (‘nfundzwanzig Graphische Meisterwerke’, Neue Lagerliste No. 25, Düsseldorf 1959, No. 14), where acquired in 1959 by
Dr. Otto Schäfer (1912-2000), Schweinfurt, Germany (not in Lugt); his sale, Sotheby's, New York, 13 May 1993, lot 72, where acquired for $54,000 by the following
with Hill-Stone, New York, where acquired by the present owner.
Bartsch, Hollstein 237; Hind 240; New Hollstein 251
C.P. Schneider, Rembrandts Landscapes: Drawings and Prints, Washington, 1990, pp. 154-155, no. 37 (another impression illustrated).
E. Hinterding, Rembrandt Etchings from the Frits Lugt Collection, Paris, 2008, pp. 448-450, no. 186 (another impression illustrated).
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts and Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Rembrandts Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, 26 October 2003-9 May 2004, no. 194 (cat. by C.S. Ackley).
Sale room notice
Please note that in 1898 the print was sold to Louis Meder, not Joseph Meder as stated in the catalogue.

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Lot Essay

This scene with a little farmhouse sheltered by some trees, a canal with a small, moored boat and a cow drinking at the water’s edge would be a quintessentially Dutch landscape, were it not for the rocky escarpment behind the building and the hills in the distance. Rembrandt took familiar motifs, such as a langhuis and the canal, and placed them in a more picturesque landscape. He may have seen and sketched the building and the canal near Diemen, where this type of building is common (see Schneider, op. cit., p. 155; and Hinterding, op. cit., p. 448), while the mountainous scenery was probably inspired by Bruegel or Goltzius, who unlike Rembrandt had traveled south, or by the dramatic landscapes of Hercules Seghers. Although he was personally unfamiliar with such places, Rembrandt in this small etching achieved a surprising harmony and continuity between the Dutch foreground and the more exotic background.
The Landscape with the Cow exists in two life-time states, with only a tiny change between the two: in the second state, Rembrandt added a few lines of shading to the meadow just to the right of the cow. Of the first state, only ten impressions are known in public collections. With its rich burr on the boat and the reeds in the foreground, and the very pronounced and modulated plate tone in the sky, the present impression of the second state must be a very early printing, equal in quality to a first-state impression. The etching is dated to around 1650, and it was during this time that Rembrandt began to experiment increasingly with burr and plate tone. Fine, early impressions, such as the present one, were undoubtedly printed by the artist himself, which allowed him to manipulate the inking of the plate and to create ephemeral effects such as air, mist, clouds and deep, dank shadows, thereby lending this exquisite little landscape atmosphere and mystery, and making it come alive.
The provenance of this impression can be traced back to the eighteenth-century Dutch collector Herman de Kat and has subsequently been in the collections of some of the greatest connoisseurs of Rembrandt’s etchings of their time, including August Sträter, Werner Weisbach and Otto Schäfer. It has always been considered and described as an exceptionally fine example.

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