The Old Person
De Oude Mensch (original Dutch title)
Lithograph on Schut & Zonen wove paper(with the monogram and the word Holland), 1941.
Signed, dated and titled in pencil.
Image size: 15 ⅝ x 12 inches.
While it certainly isn’t a novel idea, van Dobbenburgh uses the compositional element of the open window breaking up the background to successful effect. This old man, who in effect is seen inside a dark room is greatly mellowed by the opening to the wider world. It’s as if his gaze were directing us to his thoughts of a quiet walled church in a landscape. He isn’t with us, as his proximity to the viewer suggests. He’s out there. The finesse of this lithograph can also scarcely be overstated. The texture of the stone has been used to beautiful grayscale effect. The light on his skin is dimensional. And the scrapes in his facial hair and on his scalp are almost palpable.
This is as good as male lithographic portraiture gets.