Acquisition of a drawing by Hendrick Goltzius

In memory of Ger Luijten

The Fondation Custodia is delighted to announce the acquisition for the Frits Lugt Collection of an important drawing by Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617) in memory of its former director, Ger Luijten, who died in December 2022 and was a great admirer of this major Dutch artist of the late 16th century. Indeed, Luijten was one of the curators of the extensive retrospective devoted to the artist, organised in 2003-04 in Amsterdam, New York and Toledo.

Hendrick Goltzius (Brüggen, Germany 1558 – 1617 Haarlem), {The Prophetess Deborah}, c. 1588
Hendrick Goltzius (Brüggen, Germany 1558 – 1617 Haarlem), The Prophetess Deborah, c. 1588
Pen and brown ink, brown and grey wash, heightened with white, over a sketch in black chalk; incised for transfer. – 241 × 167 mm
Collection Frits Lugt, Fondation Custodia, Paris, in memory of Ger Luijten, inv. 2024-T.19

This unpublished drawing depicts Deborah, the judge of the Old Testament. It is preparatory for one of the prints in the series of prophetesses conceived by Goltzius, probably engraved by Jacob Matham (his adopted son), and published in 1588.

Stijn Alsteens, the new director of the Fondation Custodia: The sheet is a remarkable illustration of the extravagant style that characterised the art of Goltzius in the 1580s and 1590s. It complements the works by this master of the Mannerist school of the Northern Netherlands already in the collection. Assembled by Frits Lugt, these were typical of the more realistic vein adopted by the artist in the early 17th century.

A drawing representing King David, of the same dimensions and using the same technique, once belonged to Frits Lugt. It was also a design by Goltzius for a plate in the series of prophets that followed the series of prophetesses. Spoliated during the Second World War, the sheet is now in the Národní Galerie in Prague.

The drawing of Deborah, an exceptional acquisition in the field of old master drawings by the Fondation Custodia, is a fitting replacement for the lost David, and an ideal addition to the Frits Lugt Collection. It is being displayed as part of the exhibition A Passionate Eye. Ger Luijten and Twelve Years of Acquisitions, which runs from 27 April to 7 July 2024.