A Canal with a Large Boat and Bridge

rembrandtcanalRembrandt Harmenz. Van Rijn (1606-1669), A Canal with a Large Boat and Bridge, etching and drypoint, 1650. References: Bartsch, Hollstein 236, Hind 239. Second state (of two). On old laid paper with thread margins or trimmed to the platemark, short tear (5mm) at left edge, tip of lower right corner missing, an inscription in brown ink verso showing through lower left, otherwise in good condition. 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches; 83 x 108 mm.

A very fine early impression, with substantial burr from the drypoint work, especially in the tree at the right but also in the boat, shoreline and ground toward the left.

Provenance: Collection of Otto Schaefer, sold in his sale of Rembrandt prints at Sothebys New York May 13 1993, lot 71.  The sale of Dr. Schaefer’s collection was a landmark event in the history of great collections of Rembrandt prints coming onto the market, perhaps never to be equaled again as such high quality prints become increasingly unobtainable.

Nowell-Eusticke notes that this is “A scarce little landscape”; rating it “R+” (“R” is “scarce or very uncommon”).  Impressions with much burr such as this one are quite early, since the burr is known to wear off after a few dozen impressions are made.

Rembrandt appears to have made only the basic structure of the print, with some details (such as a series of compartments in the boat) in etching; then he worked the plate with the drypoint needle to give this appealing composition rich complexity and atmosphere – its shadows, the rich foliage in the tree, the cross hatching in the field, the dark and light patches of grass along the river bed.