Jacob de WIT (Amsterdam 1695 - Amsterdam 1754)

The Heads of Three Women Sold

Black and red chalk, with touches of white chalk, brush and brown ink, on buff paper.
Double framing lines in black ink.
Signed JdWit at the lower left.
Inscribed 1. 4 /4 J: de Wit at the lower left and No.5 at the lower right of the old mount.
171 x 183 mm. (6 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.) [image]
198 x 197 mm. (7 3/4 x 7 3/4 in.) [sheet]


The present sheet, which is signed in full and shows framing lines, may have been intended as an autonomous work of art, rather than a preparatory study for a painting. Jacob de Wit produced a large number of finished drawings intended for sale to collectors, which earned him a tidy income. Indeed, he was among the highest-paid artists working in Amsterdam; in 1742 alone his earnings amounted to 4,000 florins.

Perhaps a study for a painting of the Three Maries at the Tomb, this drawing may be likened to a silverpoint study of the head of a woman (possibly the Virgin?) in profile, in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich. A drawing of what appears to be the same veiled model, also seen in profile, is in the collection of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.

The first known owner of this drawing was the Rotterdam collector Pieter van der Dussen van Beeftingh (1794-1875), who assembled a significant collection of drawings by old and modern masters of the Dutch, Flemish, French and English schools.

Pieter van der Dussen van Beeftingh, Rotterdam
His posthumous sale, Rotterdam, Dirk A. Lamme, 29-30 May 1876, lot 725 (‘Têtes de femmes. A la sanguine’
I. Q. van Regteren Altena, Amsterdam (his posthumous sale stamp [Lugt 4617] on the verso)
Thence by descent until 2013.

Jacob de WIT

The Heads of Three Women


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