This arresting portrait of a young man is the work of Rembrandt's pupil Jacobus Levecq. Born in Dordrecht, Levecq was the son of Jacques Levecq, a merchant with ties to Dordrecht's artistic community. Levecq is recorded as having business dealings with the city's confraternity of artists, perhaps a connection gained through Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp, a fellow member of Dordrecht's Waalse Kerk. Such ties may have encouraged Jacobus to become an artist, and move to Amsterdam to train with Rembrandt. The approximate timing of his instruction is known, for in 1653 Rembrandt signed a document confirming the authenticity of a painting by Paul Bril before an Amsterdam notary, and Levecq undersigned the document, where he is listed as one of Rembrandt's students. By 1655, Levecq had returned to Dordrecht where he became a member of the guild.
Although Levecq made a painting of a cow now in Groninger Museum, Groningen, in the manner of Aelbert Cuyp, he worked primarily as a portraitist. Two portraits by Levecq dated 1654 - one in the collection of Poelsden Lacey, Surrey and another in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (see Sumowski, op. cit., nos. 1163, 1165, pp. 1746, 1749, 1751) - portray sitters in white collars with tassels comparable to the costume worn by our anonymous young man. The sitter in the Surrey portrait holds his hand in a similar position and fixes a direct gaze on the viewer, much like the young man in the present work. In such portraits, Levecq was clearly looking to Rembrandt's example, employing loose, visible brush-strokes and capturing a penetrating gaze that lends psychological depth to his subject. Levecq eventually moved away from this style of portraiture, however, following more elaborate aristocratic portrait formats in the vein of another former Rembrandt student, Govaert Flinck.
London, Alfred Brod Gallery, Annual Autumn Exhibition of Paintings by old Dutch and Flemish masters: recent acquisitions, 3-24 January 1959.
Pictures on Exhibit, February 1959, p. 47.
Apollo, LXIX, February 1959, p. 32.
Die Weltkunst, XXIX, no. 3, 1 February 1959, p. 10.
The Scotsman, 5 January 1959.
The Burlington Magazine, CI, no. 671, February 1959, p. 77.
Art News and Review, 17 January 1959.
W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, Landau, 1983, III, pp. 1746, 1750, no. 1164, fig. 1164.
PROPERTY FROM THE DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION OF DRS. SAUL AND MARCIA COHEN
with Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam.
F.B.E. Gutmann, Heemstede, prior to 1940.
On deposit with Nathan and Benjamin Katz, Dieren.
Acquired by Hans Posse for the 'Sonderauftrag Linz', 8 November 1940 (inv. 1369).
Recovered by the Western Allies, Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 2644)
Transferred to the Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit (no. 710) and returned to Lili Gutmann, February 1954.
with Alfred Brod Ltd., London, by January 1959, from whom acquired by the father of the present owner, May 1959.