Collection

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606-1669

The Three Trees, 1643
Etching with drypoint and burin on cream laid paper with an HS watermark
Gift of Mrs. Felix M. Warburg and her children
1941.1.111
Period: 17th c
Classification: Print
Dimensions: Image: 8 3/8 x 11 1/16 in. (21.27 x 28.1 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Signed (barely visible): Rembrandt f
Watermark: L IHS (similar to Ash and Fletcher 25.Ac of Ad; see Limouze 38, n.1)
Catalogue Raisonné: Bartsch/Hollstein 212; Gersaint 204; Hind 205; Münz 152; Middleton 309; Biorklund/Barnard 43-B
Provenance v
Collections: Alcide Donnadieu (ca. 1791-1861, Lugt 726); I.C.I.S. (initials in pencil on verso); Felix M. and Frieda Warburg, New York
Published References v
Bartsch/Hollstein 212; Gersaint 204; Middleton 309; Hind 205; Münz 152; Biöklund/Barnard 43-B; Limouze 38
Exhibition History v
"Master Printmakers: Rembrandt and His Contemporaries," Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, 9 April 1992 - 19 July 1992.; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY SECOND SIGHT: Originality, Duplicity, and the Object January 14-April 10, 2005 Poughkeepsie, New York, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, "Grand Gestures: Celebrating Rembrandt", April 7-June 11, 2006 Ithaca, New York, H.F Johnson Museum, Cornell University, "Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings," September 23rd - December 23rd, 2017. Cat.no.55, repr. Oberlin, Ohio, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, "Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings," February 5th - May 11th, 2018. Cat. no.55, repr.
Description v
This image was Rembrandt’s most technically ambitious landscape. It was produced by reworking a plate that originally bore another grand-scale etching, his Death of the Virgin of 1639 (see preceding). Traces of the angels above the bed of the dying Virgin in that etching were transformed by Rembrandt into clouds in this one. Originally thought to reproduce an actual location, this print is now considered an imaginary composition by the artist, highly refined in its organization. The seeming meteorological battle of calm and storm taking place in the windswept Dutch landscape dominated by the three trees (themselves a possible suggestion of the three crosses of Golgotha) challenge Rembrandt’s powers of graphic evocation and demon- strate his skills at the top of their range. Writers on this print are fond of pointing out the pair of lovers hiding almost unnoticed in the bushes in the lower right-hand corner of the composition, some imputing symbolic signi- ficance to their activity. According to Edward M. Warburg, this etching was one of his father’s favorite prints and was displayed prominently in the print room of the Warburg mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City (now the home of the Jewish Museum).
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