Dijck [Dyck], Abraham van

(b Amsterdam, 1635–6; bur; Amsterdam, 26 Feb 1672).

Dutch painter and draughtsman. He is thought to have been a pupil of Rembrandt in Amsterdam c. 1650. There is no documentary evidence for this, but his earliest dated painting, the Presentation in the Temple (1655; ex-priv. col. Sidney van den Bergh, Wassenaar, see Sumowski, 1983, no. 357), shows that he had certainly seen examples of Rembrandt’s work. He was an eclectic artist, given to following several models simultaneously. This is evident from two versions of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath; one (1655–60; Copenhagen, Stat. Mus. Kst) is painted in horizontal format in the style of Barent Fabritius, while the other (1655–60; Milwaukee, WI, A. Bader priv. col., see Sumowski, 1983, no. 362) features large half-length figures in the manner of Nicolaes Maes. In another biblical scene, Benjamin and Judah (1655–60; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.), he followed the example of Rembrandt. His best works, such as Saying Grace (1655–60; Hannover, Niedersächs. Landesmus.) and the Old Prophetess (1655–60; Leipzig, Mus. Bild. Kst), show old women either praying or sleeping and confirm that Maes was his main source of inspiration. Similar subjects are represented in the drawings attributed to him (e.g. Old Woman Seated, Holding a Book; New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib.). In the late 1650s van Dijck also seems to have been influenced by the genre paintings of Gabriël Metsu and above all by Quiringh van Brekelenkam, as in Hermit Praying in a Cave (late 1650s; St Petersburg, Hermitage) and Family Saying Grace (late 1650s; Stockholm, Nmus.).


W. Sumowski: Drawings of the Rembrandt School (New York, 1980), iii, pp. 1247–1309

——: Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler (Landau/Pfalz, 1983), i, pp. 666–711; review by J. Bruyn in Oud-Holland, xcviii (1984), pp. 146–62


April 10, 2007 Dr. David de Witt:


Dear Bob Demchuk: I have had a chance to study the large ektachrome transparency, of An Old Woman Weighing Coins, which you sent to me in March 2004. The painting is oil on oak panel, and measures 87.2 x 77.3 cm. It bears a false Rembrandt signature and date of 1647 in the upper left corner. I'm quite certain that this painting is by the Amsterdam painter Abraham van Dijck, who is commonly thought to have studied with Rembrandt around 1650. This painting accords well with Van Dijck's paintings of the later 1650's, many of which depict old men and woman, often with a  moralizing message, as here. It is very close to the the painting of an Old Woman and Man Eating Supper, last in the collection of Emile Wolf in New York, which Werner Sumowski gave to Van Dijck (no. 384), which is in turn very close to a signed work by the artist of a similar theme, dated 1657, last with Sam Nystad in The Hague (Sumowski no. 383). Especially the varied handling of textures of flesh, fur and fabric, and metal, relate to Van Dijck's approach, as does the subject matter of old, poor people, which reappears frequently in his work.