The Star of the Kings: A Night Piece

Rembrandt Harmensz. Van Rign (1606-1669), The Star of the Kings: A Night Piece, etchings with touches of drpoint, c. 1651, on laid paper. New Hollstein 263, first state of four, Bartsch, Hollstein 113, Hind 254. 94 x 142 mm. In excellent condition, without watermark.

Provenance:

Graphische Sammlung, Munich (Lugt 1614, stamp verso) with their deaccession stamp verso (Lugt 2397)

Vicomte Philogne de Montfort (1806-1883), Paris (Lugt 1035, stamp verso, this impression mentioned in Lugt)

Marsden Jasael Perry (b. 1850), Providence, R.I. (Lugt 1880); his sale, Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 18-23 May 1908, lot 1212 (described: Prachvoller Abdruck von sammtartiger Wirkung [beautifully printed].

A fine early impression, of the first (and only lifetime) state. In the next state the face of the woman in the center is covered with horizontal shading lines, and the background is reworked with additional diagonal lines, for example, on the window upper right.

The scene is described by the English translator of Gersaint: “It is the Custom among the Populace in Holland to carry in procession on the Feast of the three Kings [Twelfth Night} a great Lantern in the Form star at the end of a Pole; the Person that carries, and those that follow the Star, are dressed in a ridiculous Imitation of Royalty; and this disorderly Company in Masquerade is attended with suitable Music from House to House where they endeavour to obtain Money from the Bourgers” [from Nicholas Stogdon, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etchings by Rembrandt].