Portrait of a Bearded Man in a Wide-Brimmed Hat

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
Oil on panel 
27-1/2 x 21-1/2 in. (69.9 x 54.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

The man portrayed here is believed to be Pieter Sijen, a merchant who was a member of the Mennonite congregation in Amsterdam. An inscription at the left informs us that he was 41 years of age at the time of this portrait. Rembrandt painted a companion portrait of the man’s wife, Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal, that is now in the collection of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

The sitter as depicted embodies sobriety and modesty, values that were important to the middle class in Amsterdam. Yet Rembrandt transforms what could be an austere first impression—given the limitations of the formal black attire that was fashionable at the time—into a warm and insightful portrait. The vivid description of the man’s features, the warm, directional light, and the marvelous brushwork impart a sense of animation that earned Rembrandt a position as one of the most sought-after portraitists in Holland during the 1630s.


Sir William Lygon (1872-1938), 7th Earl Beauchamp, Madresfield Court, Great Malvern, Worcestershire, sold 1909 to;
[M. Knoedler & Co., New York, stock no. 4642 (London) and stock no. 11944 (New York), owned with;
P. & D. Colnaghi, London, sold at $175,000 (with its pair now in Speed Museum) January, 1911 to];
Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), New York, who traded them back to Knoedler in October, 1911;
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, sold May, 1912 to;
William H. Moore, New York, by descent to;
Ada W. Small (Mrs. William Henry Moore, d. 1955), New York, by descent to her son;
Edward S. Moore, New York (sale, London, Sotheby’s, 23 March 1960, lot 67), sold to;
[Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London, to];
Baron H. Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano, until after 1971.
[E.V. Thaw & Co., Inc., New York, to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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