Rembrandt Harmensz, van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)

Negress reclining

Signed within the plate 'Rembrandt' (lower left)


3.3/8 x 6.3/8 in. (8.5 x 16.3 cm.)

Negress reclining is one of Rembrandt's most beautiful and understated works. The dark and rich tones engulfing the figure inspire the title given to the print in the 18th Century. Rembrandt made this print late in his career by which time he had begun to create remarkable painterly effects never before seen in printmaking with combinations of velvety drypoint lines, films of ink left on the printing plate, and various coloured papers.

This print has been expertised by Dr. Helene Bonafous-Murat, member of the Compagnie Nationales des Experts, France.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of styles and subject matters. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age. Rembrandt produced etchings for most of his career, from 1626 to 1660. He took easily to etching and, though he also learned to use a burin and partly engraved many plates, the freedom of etching technique was fundamental to his work. He was very closely involved in the whole process of printmaking, and must have printed early examples of his etchings himself. At first he used a style based on drawing, but soon moved to one based on painting, using a mass of lines and numerous bitings with acid to achieve different strengths of line. Towards the end of the 1630s, he reacted against this manner and moved to a simpler style, with fewer bitings. He worked on the so-called Hundred Guilder Print in stages throughout the 1640s, and it was the critical work in the middle of his career, from which his final etching style began to emerge. A few erotic, or just obscene, compositions have no equivalent in his paintings. This example exhibits fine painterly effects and the deep chiaroscuro one would hope for in Rembrandt’s prints.

Literature: Bartsch 205