Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Four Musicians with Wind Instruments
ca. 1638
Pen and brown and black ink and brown wash, and red and yellow chalk.
7 1/8 x 5 1/4 inches (179 x 135 mm)
Thaw Collection.

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Watermark: none.
This drawing and "Two Mummers on Horseback" (inv. I, 201) are two of four sheets that may record historical figures from a pageant witnessed by Rembrandt at The Hague in 1638. The other two are in the British Museum. All four drawings feature a complex combination of media and technique, with red and yellow chalks, subtle tonal shifts from brown to reddish brown, and an impressively coarse line. The subject corresponds to descriptions of African musicians made at the time of the event.
This is part of a small group of drawings in which Rembrandt experimented with an elaborate technique that included pen, ink, wash, and a rare yellow chalk. The procession of musicians in old-fashioned costumes may have been celebrating a prominent wedding or festivity. The liveliness of the figures suggests Rembrandt drew them from life in the street, though it is equally possible that he recorded them in the studio by placing models in front of a mirror. The inflated cheeks of the musician in the foreground typify Rembrandt's powers of observation. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"


Numbered at lower left, in pen and brown ink, "11".

Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (Lugt 2184); Jonathan Richardson, Jr. (Lugt 2170 as blind stamp); Richard Houlditch (Lugt 2214); possibly his sale, London, Langford, 12-14 February 1760, lot 68; Thomas Hudson (Lugt 2432); possibly his sale, London, Langford, 15-26 March 1779, one of three (with Two Mummers on Horseback [I, 201]) in lot 52; Charles Rogers (1711-1784), London (no mark; see Lugt 624-26); Thomas Dimsdale (Lugt 2426); sold by his descendants to Samuel Woodburn (1786-1853), London (no mark; see Lugt 2584); Andrew James (died before 1857), London; William Russell (1800-1884), Onslow Gardens, London (no mark; see Lugt 2648); his sale, London, Christie's, 10-12 December 1884, lot 416; Robert Prioleau Roupell (1798-1886), London (no mark; see Lugt 2234); Hans M. Calmann, London, 1952; Victor Koch, London; Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zurich; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.
Associated names: 

Richardson, Jonathan, 1665-1745, former owner.
Richardson, Jonathan, 1694-1771, former owner.
Houlditch, Richard, former owner.
Hudson, Thomas, 1701-1779, former owner.
Rogers, Charles, 1711-1784, former owner.
Dimsdale, Thomas, 1758-1823, former owner.
Woodburn, Samuel, 1785 or 1786-1853 former owner.
James, Andrew, former owner.
Russell, William, 1800-1884, former owner.
Roupell, Robert Prioleau, 1798-1886, former owner.
Calmann, Hans M., former owner.
Koch, Victor, former owner.
Feilchenfeldt, Walter, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.


The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 323, repr.
Denison, Cara D. et al. The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and New Acquisitions. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994, no. 18.
Jane Shoaf Turner, with contributions by Felice Stampfle, Dutch Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library: Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries, New York, 2006, cat. no. 216.