ONDON.- Ever the great innovator, Rembrandt had a distinctly tactile approach to printmaking. Four landscapes which retain the presence of Rembrandt’s hand on the printing plate, from lusciously inked tree-hollows to expansive, lightly misted skies, will be offered at Sotheby’s in London on 29 September 2015, in the company’s biannual Prints & Multiples sale. From the collection of Bernard Palitz, the distinguished provenances of these enduring records of the Dutch countryside include other notable scholar-collectors who were custodians of the prints before they were acquired by Mr. Palitz, for whom provenance always shared equal weight with quality. 

A keen collector and patron of the arts, Bernard Palitz began collecting in the 1950s, focussing on prints by Rembrandt and Dürer. Mr. Palitz had grown up in a New York City home filled with important German, Flemish and Dutch paintings assembled by his father, Clarence Y. Palitz. In this environment, he acquired a sophisticated eye trained on the highest quality, which he later combined with a meticulous and studious approach to acquiring works. 

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606 - 1669), Six’s Bridge.The rare etching and drypoint, 1645; sheet: 131 by 226mm 5 1/8 by 8 7/8 inEstimate: £80,000-120,000 (€114,000-171,000). Photo Sotheby's

A delightful, if apocryphal, anecdote attests to the spontaneous quality of this etching. Rembrandt and Jan Six, his friend and patron, sit down to lunch in the countryside. Six’s servant is dispatched to the village to bring back a forgotten pot of mustard. Rembrandt bet his friend that he can complete an etching – sketched on the copper plate – before the servant returns. Six’s Bridge is purportedly the result of Rembrandt’s successful wager. 

ProvenanceEx coll. J.B. de Graaf (L. 1120); Duke of Buccleuch (L. 402); Dr. Otto Schäfer, his stamp verso (not in Lugt), sold his sale, Sotheby’s New York, 13 May 1993, lot 58, $173,000; acquired from the above by Walter F. Johnson, sold his sale, Christie’s New York, 13 May 1997, lot 60, $145,500; where acquired by the family of the present owner.

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606 - 1669), Landscape with Three Gables Cottages beside a Road. Etching and drypoint, 1650; sheet: 171 by 211mm 6 7/8 by 8 1/4 in. Estimate: £80,000-120,000 (€114,000-171,000). Photo Sotheby's

A view down a road lined with cottages is a theme which preoccupied Rembrandt from his earliest landscapes. The velvety drypoint technique used by the artist makes visual the sense of a breeze rustling in the trees, and the sharp diagonal perspective pulls the view down the country land. 

ProvenanceEx coll. A. G. Thiermann (L. 2434); a duplicate from the Kupferstichkabinett Der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin (L. 1633 and 2398); A. F. T. Bohnenberger (L. suppl. 68); Dr Otto Schäfer, his stamp verso (not in Lugt); sold his sale, Sotheby's New York, 13 May 1993, lot 62, $134,500; acquired from the above by Walter F. Johnson, sold his sale, Christie's New York, 13 May 1997, lot 65 (catalogued incorrectly), $112,500; where acquired by the family of the present owner  

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606 - 1669), Landscape with a Square Tower. Etching and drypoint, 1650; sheet: 93 by 163mm 3 3/4 by 6 1/2 in. Estimate: £35,000-55,000 (€49,900-78,500). Photo Sotheby's

Rembrandt’s Dutch landscapes are a celebration of the everyday, yet with this subject the artist injects the purely Dutch motif with a romantic mood. The imaginary tower of heroic proportions provides an element of this history alongside the ordinary. The effects of light and atmosphere are skilfully conveyed in the sky, which seems to show a heavy, misting rain, an effect produced by Rembrandt’s vertical wiping of the inked plate. 

ProvenanceEx coll. C.F.J. Libert de Beaumont 1784 (L. 1679); a duplicate from the Kupferstichkabinett des Hessischen Landesmuseums (L. 1257e); Dr. Otto Schäfer, his stamp verso; sold his sale, Sotheby’s New York, 13 May 1993, lot 61, $74,000; acquired from the above by Walter F. Johnson, sold his sale, Christie’s New York, 13 May 1997, lot 66, $68,500; where acquired by the family of the present owner

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606 - 1669), Clump of Trees with a Vista. Drypoint, 1652; plate: 125 by 213mm 4 7/8 by 8 3/8 in.; sheet: 130 by 219mm 5 1/8 by 8 5/8 in. Estimate: £70,000-100,000 (€100,000-143,000). Photo Sotheby's

ProvenanceEx coll. Leonard Gow; his sale, Christie's London, 31 May 1937, lot 180, £231; to Craddock; with Colnaghi London, their stock no. C.11982 verso; Gordon W. Nowell-Usticke, Christiansted, sold his sale, Sotheby's Parke-Bernet, New York, 31 October-1 November 1967, lot 92, $13,000; to Richard H. Zinser (not in Lugt); Christie's London, 8 December 2009, lot 66, £103,250; where acquired by the family of the present owner