Jacob Adriaensz. BACKER (Harlingen 1608 - Amsterdam 1651)

A Young Boy in a Plumed Cap Sold

Black chalk, with traces of red chalk, and framing lines in brown ink.
Signed Backer. at the lower right.
168 x 182 mm. (6 5/8 x 7 1/8 in.)


This charming drawing is a preparatory study for the pointing child at the extreme left of Jacob Backer’s Family Portrait with Christ Blessing the Children, a painting datable to c.1633-1634. This large canvas was unknown before its first appearance at auction in London in 1974, and is today in a private collection.

The present sheet is drawn with a vivacity and a freedom in the application of the chalk that is stylistically indebted to Rembrandt’s chalk drawings of the same period, namely the early 1630s. Drawings executed in black chalk alone are rare in Backer’s oeuvre, but this drawing may be compared in particular to a signed and dated Self-Portrait in black chalk by Backer of 1638, in the Albertina in Vienna. A black chalk study of A Man in a Turban, in the Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, may also be likened to the present sheet.

Probably by descent to the artists’s brother, Tjerk Adriaensz. Backer, Amsterdam
Iohan Quirijn van Regteren Altena, Amsterdam (his posthumous sale stamp [Lugt 4617] stamped on the backing sheet)
Thence by descent.

Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, Vol.I, New York, 1979, pp.20-21, no.3 (where dated to the mid-1630s), and also pp.46-47, under nos.16x and 17x, p.52, under no.19x and p.54, under no.20x; Werner Sumowksi, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, Landau/Pfalz, 1983, Vol.I, p.203, under no.72; Peter van den Brink, ‘Uitmuntend Schilder in het Groot: De schilder en tekenaar Jacob Adriansz. Backer’, in Peter van den Brink and Jaap van der Veen, Jacob Backer (1608/9-1651), exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam and Aachen, 2008-2009, p.77, fig.89.

Jacob Adriaensz. BACKER

A Young Boy in a Plumed Cap


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