Woman at a Door Hatch Talking to a Man is listed in the catalogue of 18th-century art historian Adam Bartsch as number B128, and in the collection of etchings compiled by G.W. Nowell-Usticke.
This extraordinary and highly important original etching is the work of the revered Dutch Old Master, Rembrandt Van Rijn. Entitled Woman at a Door Hatch Talking to a Man, this highly detailed composition is an outstanding representation of the painter's skill as an engraver. This etching is known to be a first state of three, meaning that this is the first print made of an etched plate out of three impressions. It boasts the sharpest detail and best quality of all the prints made from this plate.
In a scene taken directly from life, Rembrandt captures a woman leaning out of a Dutch half or split door to talk to a gentleman. A shaft of light falls across her shoulder and illuminates her smile, while a crowd slowly emerges from the shadows. Rembrandt's depictions of ordinary people are among the most fascinating in art. Unlike many of his contemporaries and against the fashion, Rembrandt portrayed his subjects as they were, choosing to immortalize their humanity rather to than idealize them. His depictions of women and children in particular possess this naturalistic, familiar quality, and are of the greatest appeal to collectors.
The son of a miller, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is believed to have been born in Leiden on July 15, 1606. He studied first at the Latin School, and then was enrolled at the University of Leiden at the age of 14. He soon left to study art - first with a local master, Jacob van Swanenburch, and then, in Amsterdam, with Pieter Lastman, known for his historical paintings. Rembrandt was an exceptionally gifted student, and mastered his art in a mere six months. Now 22 years old, he returned to Leiden, and was soon so highly regarded that he was able to take students of his own.
Though known today primarily for his paintings, Rembrandt's fame was spread outside of the Netherlands by his etchings. He made hundreds of etchings for most of his career, from 1626-1660, when he was forced to sell his presses. He did etchings of a number of subjects, including self-portraits, biblical subjects, saints and allegories, and his work was avidly admired and collected, even during his lifetime. These small works of art were considered beautifully executed, and done with excellent taste.
The print medium allowed artists to experiment in a way that painting did not, especially since they were rarely done on commission, and thus did not have to conform to someone else's tastes. Rembrandt was known to be even more innovative in his etching than most artists. He did not engage a professional printmaker, preferring to print and sell his etchings himself, while keeping the plates to rework and reprint. He almost never reproduced his own paintings or drawing. He was also known to have invented his own particular method of etching, creating prints that exuded spontaneity and vigor. Because he trained not as an engraver but as a painter, he developed and used techniques that matched his methods. For Rembrandt, his etchings were not afterthoughts or subordinate mediums compared to painting, but new and innovative ways in which to achieve new heights of self-expression. It is no surprise that these prints have been revered by elite art collectors for over five centuries.
Rembrandt's etchings were included in the seminal, 20-volume catalogue Le Peintre graveur, compiled by Austrian artist and scholar Adam Bartsch. This pioneering work in the systematic study of Dutch, Flemish, German, and Italian painter-engravers from the 15th to the 17th century is the foundation of the history of printmaking.
Rembrandt's work has been featured in countless exhibitions.