Rembrandt Etching, The Hundred Guilder Print
Alex Adelman, describes The Hundred Guilder Print
In this article, we will be referencing works from the Masterworks Fine Art Collection, whose director is Alex Adelman.
The study of Old Master Prints is very complex and connoisseurs can spend their careers becoming an expert on a single artist. I will concentrate this article on a particular Rembrandt etching titled, "The Hundred Guilder Print (Christ Healing the Sick)" made in 1649.
This piece is a "Lifetime Impression", meaning it was made during the artist's lifetime. A lifetime impression is much more valuable than a restrike or reproduction done after the artist has died, because the artist's involvement in the piece greatly affects its collectibility. If you are looking into Old Master Prints, try not to stray from Lifetime Impressions as these are the best documented and most valued.
Rembrandt scholar Christopher White traces the origin of the title to a print seller named Mariette. Mariette sold an impression of this print to Rembrandt himself for 100 guilders. The piece has other names, as well, such as "Christ Healing the Sick with Small Children".
The scene supposedly reflects elements of the Book of Matthew. It is also said that it reflects the essential Christian teaching "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
It is a fair assertion that the Hundred Guilder Print remains the most famous and desirable Rembrandt etching in existence. The price varies according to it's quality and condition, such as the size of the margins and the absence of tears in the image. Seeing that this etching is over 350 years old, its condition weighs heavily on the value. Sotheby's, NY Prints Sale hammer price in 2007 for Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print was $325,000.
Rembrandt died alone in 1669 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Amsterdam where his long time lover Hendrickje was previously buried as well. Although he may have not been able to see or foresee his legacy, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn remains one of the most well-known artists in history.