Lot 172: REMBRANDT VAN RIJN The Flute Player.
November 3, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
REMBRANDT VAN RIJN
The Flute Player.
Etching and drypoint, 1642. 114x143 mm; 4 1/2x5 5/8 inches, narrow to thread margins. Biörklund''s fourth state (of 5); Usticke''s fourth state (of 5); White and Boon''s fourth state (of 5). Indiscernible, though possibly the upper part of a foolscap watermark (see Ash/Fletcher 19; they note a foolscap watermark with a 5-pointed collar on another fourth state impression of this subject in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Ex-collection unidentified collector, indiscernible circular ink stamp or ink inscription verso. A very good, well-inked impression.
According to Usticke, "A scarce plate (R+)."
The figure of the lascivious male flute player, a popular folk-tale character from the early 16th century onward, was well-known to Dutch art connoisseurs in Rembrandt''s time as the Eulenspiegel (Owl-glass), and Rembrandt has conspicuously placed a tame owl on the shepherd''s shoulder in this etching to further the point. The figure of the Eulenspiegel was known to be a wily, shifty character, whom Rembrandt has represented here with a flute suggestively directed at the seated shepherdess while he steals a glance beneath the hem of her dress. Bartsch 188; Biörklund 32-D; Hollstein (White and Boon) 188.