School of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

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School of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Mercury and Argus
ca. 1655
Pen and brown ink and wash, on paper; later additions in gray wash and possibly extensions of two branches of tree in pen and brown ink over black chalk.
5 11/16 x 6 7/8 inches (145 x 174 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
I, 200

Inscribed on the verso, at lower center, in graphite, "87".
Watermark: Foolscap with five points over number "4" and three balls (similar to Heawood, nos. 1921-2: 1648/9-51). Partly obscured by damage in paper.

Possibly Samuel Woodburn (1786-1853), London (no mark; see Lugt 2584); possibly his sale, London, Christie's, 9 and 11 June 1860, one of two in lot 1385: "Mercury and Argus, and studies of figures, pen and bistre" (to "Money" for £1.6.0); Sir John Charles Robinson (1824-1913), London (Lugt 1433; partially obliterated); George William Reid (1819-87), London (no mark; see Lugt 1210); his sale, London, Sotheby's, 26 February-1 March 1890, lot 640 (as Rembrandt to Fairfax Murray for £3.15.0); Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.
Associated names: 

Woodburn, Samuel, 1785 or 1786-1853 former owner.
Robinson, John Charles, Sir, 1824-1913, former owner.
Reid, George William, 1819-1887, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.


Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, I, 200, repr. (as Rembrandt).
Jane Shoaf Turner, with contributions by Felice Stampfle, Dutch Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library: Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries, New York, 2006, cat. no. 247.