Portrait of a Hanseatic Merchant Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/98–1543)


European Art

On view, 2nd floor, European Art

The merchants of the Hanseatic League, a powerful German trading organization that rapidly expanded into other countries along the Baltic and North seas, established their English headquarters in the London Steelyard. Holbein was commissioned to decorate their meeting hall and to produce individual portraits of the guild members. These all adopt the same format, with the sitter represented frontally against an unadorned background. An inscription records the age of the sitter in this painting (thirty-three), but no other information is known about him.


Oil on panel


unframed: 19 1/2 × 15 3/8 in. (49.6 × 39 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Charles S. Payson, B.A. 1921

Accession Number



16th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Royal Picture Gallery, Poland; from which purchased by Gabriel Faszycki, Poland, 1789; Count Kossakowski Collection, Warsaw; Unknown collector, Paris, 1923; Joseph Duveen, 1925; Dr. A. Hamilton Rice Collection, New York, 1927; Charles S. Payton Collection, New York.
  • Artists on Art: Observations by Yale Faculty on Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1999), 67–69, ill.
  • Masterpieces of Art: Exhibition at the New York World's Fair 1939, exh. cat. (New York: The Art News, 1939), 17, n.p., no. 50.
  • Malcolm Vaughan, "Holbein Portraits in America, Part II," International Studio (1927): 64–7.
  • August L. Mayer, "Ein unbekanntes Bildnis Hans Holbein des Jüngeren," Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Kunst 1 (1924): 260–62, ill.
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type



man merchant


Stamp on back of panel, also on back of frame: ZOLL / + / 1.10 in a circle\r\n\r\nIn crayon on cradle: A6679\r\nLabel on center back of panel" A6679\r\n\r\nKnoedler label on cradle: No. 55626\r\n\r\nLabel on panel: Recette Partic.et de l'est / Douanes / Paris\r\n\r\nOn frame: L.62.5.13 / Payson


Inscribed on background, "ANNO DOM 1538/AETATIS SVAE 33".

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