European Art
Artist: Hans Holbein the Younger, German, 1497/98–1543

Portrait of a Hanseatic Merchant


Oil on panel

unframed: 49.6 x 39 cm (19 1/2 x 15 3/8 in.) framed: 74.1 x 64.7 cm (29 3/16 x 25 1/2 in.)
Gift of Charles S. Payson, B.A. 1921
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.
16th century
On view

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.


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.

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.

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 such records is ongoing.