This highly unusual tronie study of an old man is possibly unique within Elaut's oeuvre. The artist is known mostly for his still lives, which are closer in style to those of his fellow Haarlem painter, Pieter Claesz. This head is more akin to the Leiden painter Jan Lievens, or indeed to Rembrandt, than to other Haarlem painters who could be expected to paint this sort of subject matter (such as Pieter de Grebber). Whether Elaut visited Leiden or Amsterdam is uncertain, but given his close proximity to the capital city it seems likely that he would have done so and come into direct contact with the work of Rembrandt and Lievens. Fred Meijer mentions an inventory from 1631 of artwork belonging to Hendrick Willlemsz den Abt. The list includes two such tronie heads and ours is possibly one of them.
Galerie Internationale, The Hague in 1943;Sale, Vendue Huis, The Hague, 3/4 November 1981, lot 199;Private Collection. Switzerland
Fred Meijer, Oud Holland, vol. 109 (1995) pp. 18-28, illus fig. 5