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Half-length Portrait of a Girl with Braided Hair. Etching. 14.2 x 10.5 cm. 1664. Bartsch 9, Hollstein 9. Watermark: Crowned coat of arms (fragment).
The son of a Flemish merchant and a daughter of the prosperous Beeresteyn family from Haarlem, Leendert van der Cooghen enjoyed financial security all his life and never had to earn a living from his art. On the contrary, he was able to pursue his artistic activities on his own initiative and entirely for pleasure. He is thought to have been apprenticed to Jacob Jordaens in Antwerp in the late 1640s and probably studied with Cornelis Bega later on. In 1652 he was accepted into the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke, of which he was a very active member. Nowadays, van der Cooghen is best known for his drawings, on which he mostly recorded the correct day, month and year. Only a few of his paintings have survived, while his printed oeuvre encompasses no more than ten etchings. Strictly speaking, van der Cooghen must be regarded as a dilettante, but his corpus of prints and drawings reveal him to be a gifted and capable artist.
This very rare etching is the only portrait in the artist’s modest oeuvre. The intimate, captivating nature of this sensitively and lovingly observed portrayal suggests that it could be of a young woman from the artist’s immediate circle. The appeal of the etching, which is treated in a free, transparent style, derives from its simple yet visually striking interpretation. A superb, contrasting impression with thread margins around the platemark at the bottom, to which it is otherwise trimmed. From the collection of Friedrich August II of Saxony (Lugt 971), the impression listed by Hollstein. Minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable, pristine condition.
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