Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet

Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet (1607–1685) is a 1657 painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt.[1]

Rembrandt, Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet.jpg
Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet
Year1657 (1657)
CatalogueRembrandt Research Project, A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI: #258
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions123.5 cm × 95 cm (48.6 in × 37 in)
LocationNational Museum Cardiff


This painting was documented by Hofstede de Groot in 1915, who wrote: "652. CATHARINA HOOGHSAET (1607 -after 1657). Sm. 546. and Suppl. 32; Bode 247; Dut. 216; Wb. 234; B.-HdG. 454. Full length; life size. She sits in an arm-chair, on which both her arms are stretched out; she is turned to the left and looks in that direction. She holds a handkerchief in her right hand. She wears the black gown of a citizen's wife, with a plain flat white collar and a white cap, covering her hair, which is smoothly combed back. Beside her. to the left is a table with a Turkish carpet having a red pattern. Above the table a metal ring with a parrot hangs from a bracket fixed to the wall. In even daylight. Dark background.

Signed to the left at top on two labels on the wall-bracket, " Catrina Hooghsaet, out 50 jaer, Rembrandt 1657"; canvas, 49 1/2inches by 38 1/2 inches. Mentioned by Vosmaer, p. 557; Bode, pp. 516, 590; Dutuit, p. 47; Michel, p. 558 [433]; Waagen, ii. 336; Moes, No. 3684. Exhibited at the British Institution, London, 1851, No. 52; at the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition. 1873, No. 137, and 1899, No. 75 at the Grafton Gallery, London, 1911, No. 60.

Sale. Lord Le Despencer, London, 1831 (£178 : 10s.). In the possession of the London dealer Peacock, 1842. Sales. E. Higginson of Saltmarsh Castle, London, June 4, 1846 1842 catalogue, No. 39 (£798, Turner, bought in). E. Higginson, London, 1860 (£777, Farrer). In the collection of Lord Penrhyn, Penrhyn Castle."[2]

The painting is unusual for a portrait as it features a pet. Catharina is looking at her pet parrot with a satisfied look that prompted Horst Gerson to remark that her lively commune with her pet bird would make an interesting subject for a book about Rembrandt and animals.[3][4] The biography of Catharina Hooghsaet was written in 2014 and at the time the painting was made, she was aged 50 and living estranged from her husband.[5]

Catharina is wearing the sober black dress of the Mennonite community but the silk sheen of her dress, pearl pin, hairpin, ring and gold cap support show off her wealth.[5] The same year she commissioned the portrait she drew up her will and named several nieces and nephews and sums to the poor of both the Mennonite community and the Reformed community.[5] The Rembrandt portrait was left to her brother along with 2000 guilders, and the parrot was to be left to Giertje Crommelingh.[5]

Hoogsaet, Hooghsaet, HoogzaadEdit

Genealogy experts from the Dutch Hoogzaad family paid a visit to the Rijksmuseum in 2007 when the painting was on loan there. The Hoogzaad family papers showed that Catharina or Catrina or Trijn was the granddaughter of Dirck Pietersz van Nierop, a man from a farm in Nieuwe Niedorp called Hoochsaet and that this is the origin of the Hoogzaad name.[6] The painting had been on loan since November 2006 for the end of the Rembrandt year celebrated in Amsterdam. An article in the Noord-Hollands Dagblad mentions the Hoogzaad family's work and that the owners of the painting, the family Douglas-Pennant, were at that time negotiating a sale with the Rijksmuseum for €70 million.[6] The NRC during the same period also remarked on the possible Rembrandt deal, but did not mention a price.[7] The Rijksmuseum had earlier acquired the Jan Steen painting from the Douglas-Pennant family in 2004 called A Mayor of Delft and his Daughter.[7]

2015 saleEdit

The painting was lent to the National Gallery in 2014 for an exhibition on Rembrandt's late works, travelled to the Rijksmuseum the following year. It was then owned by Penrhyn Castle and was sold shortly after. The painting was to be sold to a private collector outside the UK for £35 million in September 2015 but had not received an export license yet in October. Since 2016 the painting has been on display in the National Museum Cardiff.[8]


  1. ^ Gleadell, Colin. "Art sales: Rembrandt's finest portrait". Telegraph, 2 June 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015
  2. ^ Entry 652 for ''Catharina Hooghsaet in Hofstede de Groot, 1915
  3. ^ The portrait is listed as "336 Catharina Hooghsaet (1607–85) Amsterdam Mennonite" in Horst Gerson's Rembrandt catalog of 1968
  4. ^ Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet, 1657 gedateerd in the RKD
  5. ^ a b c d Hoogsaet biography in 1001 Vrouwen uit de Nederlandse geschiedenis
  6. ^ a b Is er een familieband tussen Catrina Hooghsaet, die in de seventiende eeuw in Amsterdam woonde, en de nu nog in West-Friesland levende 'Hoogzaaden'? in the Noord-Hollands Dagblad 1 February 2007 (Dutch)
  7. ^ a b Dutch Cabinet wants to buy Rembrandt painting in NRC Handelsblad, 1 January 2007 (Dutch)
  8. ^ £35m Rembrandt painting goes on show in Cardiff via the BBC