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Jan Lievens

Leiden 1607 - 1674 Amsterdam
Price range
500,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Jan Lievens was one of the foremost Leiden painters of the second quarter of the 17th century, best known for his tronies – a type of character study that emerged in the circle of Rembrandt in the 1620s and 30s.

Jan Lievens was a prodigious artist and one of the foremost Leiden painters of the seventeenth century. Lievens’ work displays great versatility and a propensity for successful stylistic and technical experimentation. His close artistic relationship with Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) led to the development of the tronie.  These were paintings from life of ordinary men and women, often portrayed in exotic costume. The tronie developed into a popular genre in its own right which Rembrandt painted throughout his career and which influenced artists like Gerrit Dou (1613–1675) and the Monogrammist I.S. (active 1633–1658).

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

3,438,961 $
3,801,481 $
4,356,245 $


The sales are: Sotheby’s London – 7 Jul 2004 lot 7 (1,853,600 GBP), Sotheby’s London – 7 Jul 2010 lot 19 (2,505,250 GBP), Christie’s London – 6 Dec 2007 lot 56 (2,148,500 GBP).
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Notable exhibitions

Kingston, Agnes Etherington Art CentreLeiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges, 24 August – 1 December 2019; Edmonton, Art Gallery of Alberta, 7 March – 1 July 2020; Regina, MacKenzie Art Gallery, 22 August – 3 January 2021; Hamilton, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 13 February – 30 May 2021. Curated by Jacquelyn N. Coutré.

Amsterdam, Rembrandthuis, Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered, 17 May – 9 August 2008; travelled to Washington D.C., The National Gallery of Art, 26 October 2008 – 11 January 2009; Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Art Museum, 7 February – 26 April 2009. Curated by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Laurie Winters, Bob van den Boogert, Jaap van der Veen, Lloyd DeWitt, Stephanie Dickey and Gregory Rubinstein.

Leiden, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Rembrandt & Lievens in Leiden : ‘een jong en edel schildersduo’, 4 December 1991 – 1 March 1992. Curated by Christian Vogelaar.

Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Jan Lievens : ein Maler im Schatten Rembrandts, 6 September – 11 November 1979. Curated by Rudolf E.O. Ekkart, Sabine Jacob and Rüdiger Klessmann.


Books on Jan Lievens

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Anonymous Portraits: Dutch Seventeenth-century Tronies, exh. cat. New York, 2019.

Gabriele Groschner, Zwei Junge Wilde der Malerei und die Überwindung der Bildfläche: Figurenportraits von Rembrandt van Rijn und Jan Lievens aus der Sammlung Residenzgalerie Salzburg, 2018.

Blaise Ducos and Dominique Surh, Masterpieces of the Leiden Collection, exh. cat. Paris, 2017.

Stephanie S. Dickey, Rembrandt and his Cirlce: Insights and Discoveries, Amsterdam, 2017.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr, ed., Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Revisited, exh. cat. New Haven, 2008.

Christiaan Vogelaar, ed., Rembrandt and Lievens in Leiden, exh. cat. Zwolle and Leiden, 1991.

Cornelis de Bie, Het Gulden Cabinet vande Edel Vry Schilder-Const, 1662, reprint, Antwerp, 1971.

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