Abraham Francen, Apothecary
Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
Not on View

Abraham Francen (1612–after 1678) was an apothecary with a passion for collecting prints and other objects of art. Francen was a good friend to the artist, assisting him during financial crises and, after Rembrandt’s death, accepting guardianship of Cornelia, the artist’s daughter with his second wife, Hendrickje Stoffels. Given their close relationship, this print may be seen as an expression of friendship and gratitude.

The format of this oblong portrait etching is ideal for depicting the variety of objects that were dear to the collector. The subject sits near an open window that illuminates his studio and the print he is presently examining; other collectibles are visible, including paintings on either side of a triptych depicting the Crucifixion, a Taoist sculpture of a seated deity and a skull. An open album on the carpet-covered table contains additional prints. Though his friend is portrayed informally, absorbed in a connoisseur’s reverie, Rembrandt has taken care to use rich chiaroscuro effects and toning to convey details of the room, the frames around the paintings and Francen’s attire.


  • Artist Name: Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
  • Title: Abraham Francen, Apothecary
  • Date: c.1657
  • Medium: Etching, drypoint and burin
  • Edition: State VII
  • Dimensions: plate: 6-1/4 x 8-3/16 in. (15.9 x 20.8 cm); sheet: 6-5/8 x 8-5/16 in. (16.8 x 21.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1977.32.106.G
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

The Familiar Face: Portrait Prints by Rembrandt

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2009-12-04 to 2010-3-22

Eye-to-Eye with Rembrandt: Etched Portraits and Self-Portraits

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1994-05-26 to 1995-01-15

Rembrandt Portrait Etchings

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1986-05-22 to 1987-08-30

Rembrandt Etchings

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1978-08-10 to 1980
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1452 p. 408

Additional Artwork by Artist

A Nude Man Standing, Another Seated Rembrandt van Rijn c.1646 (Basan impression)
Beggar Leaning on a Stick, Facing Left Rembrandt van Rijn c. 1630
Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door of a House Rembrandt van Rijn 1648 (Basan impression)

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