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The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, announced that a painting that had been relegated to storage for a decade has been authenticated as a work by Rembrandt. The canvas, which has been in the museum’s collection for 72 years, was previously attributed to “The Circle of Rembrandt.” A recent reassessment by Rembrandt expert Ernst van de Wetering proved that the painting was made by the Dutch master himself.

“Portrait of Dirck van Os” was purchased by the Joslyn Art Museum in 1942 from a private collection as an authentic Rembrandt. A later assessment saw the painting reclassified as a work by one of Rembrandt’s students. After a visit to the Joslyn Art Museum in 2010, Van de Wetering had the work sent to Amsterdam for restoration. After later additions of paint were removed, a very different portrait was revealed, leading the scholar to deem the work a late painting by Rembrandt.

There are approximately 300 Rembrandts known to exist. “Portrait of Dirck van Os” will go on view at the Joslyn Art Museum in May.

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While in Amsterdam for the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama visited the city’s celebrated Rijksmuseum, the first ever visit by a serving U.S. President to the museum. The Rijksmuseum’s General Director, Wim Pijbes, gave the President a tour in the Gallery of Honour, where masterpieces by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer are exhibited. The Gallery of Honour leads to a designated area where Rembrandt’s greatest masterpiece, “The Night Watch,” is displayed.

The Rijksmuseum re-opened to the public in April 2013, following a ten-year renovation. The project, which cost around $841 million, included restoring all eighty of the museum’s galleries with their original decorations and paintings and outfitting them with the most up-to-date technologies. Since its re-opening, nearly 3 million patrons have visited the museum, making it one of the most successful transformations of a museum in history.

Other notable figures who have visited the Rijksmuseum include Theodore Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson, and Hillary Clinton. 

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Rembrandt’s “The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” is currently on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Once the Dutch master’s largest and most celebrated painting, the masterpiece is owned by the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and has been at the Nationalmuseum of Art in Stockholm for over 150 years. During that time, the work has left Sweden only twice -- once in 1925 and again in 1969. On both of those occasions the painting was sent to Amsterdam and displayed at the Rijksmuseum. The current showing commemorates the 400-year anniversary of bilateral relations between Sweden and the Netherlands.

Rembrandt painted “The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” between 1661 and 1662 under a commission from the burgomasters of Amsterdam. The canvas, which was originally 18 feet high by 18 feet wide, was intended to be part of a series of eight equally sized paintings depicting Batvian history to be hung in the new Amsterdam Town Hall (now the Royal Palace Amsterdam). The Batvians lived in the Netherlands at the start of the Christian era and famously revolted against the Romans, who ruled northern Europe.

In 1662, a month after “The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” was hung in the Amsterdam Town Hall, Rembrandt retrieved the painting to make changes to it. The work was cut down to about 6 feet high by 10 feet wide, most likely by the artist himself, and was never returned to the Town Hall. The existing portion of the canvas was donated to the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in 1798. In 1865, the work was given to the National Museum of Art on long-term loan.  

“The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” is on view in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour. 

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A French man admitted to police that he stole Rembrandt’s “Child with a Soap Bubble” from the Municipal Museum in southeastern France. The work was recovered last week after French police caught the unidentified man and an accomplice attempting to sell the painting, which is estimated to be worth around $5.4 million. The painting has been missing since 1999.

The burglar, who said that he never earned any money from the painting, told police that he stole the canvas by breaking into the municipal library next door to the museum during a Bastille Day parade. Authorities returned the painting to curator Jeanine Bussieres on Thursday, March 20. Bussieres told the AP, “We are thrilled...this Rembrandt was one of our masterpieces. The child in the picture is smiling because he has a soap bubble. But yes, he could be smiling now because he’s been returned to us.”

The Municipal Museum acquired the 17th century painting in 1794, making it one of institution’s first acquisitions.  

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The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum and Hermitage Amsterdam are teaming up to present a permanent exhibition of 30 large-scale paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. The Rijksmuseum, which houses the the most comprehensive collection of Dutch Old Masters, and the Amsterdam Museum will supply the paintings while the Hermitage will provide an expansive gallery where the works will be hung.

The show will mark the first time that these larger-than-life, 17th century paintings have been exhibited together. Since some of the canvases measure over 25 feet, transporting them will be a challenge. Officials are planning on moving them into the Hermitage through holes they will make in the roof.

The selection of paintings to be exhibited has not been finalized, but the museums have described the works as being in the same class as Rembrandt’s monumental ‘The Night Watch.’ Officials also divulged that works by Nicolaes Eliasz and Adriaen Backer will be included in the exhibition. The museums hope to have the permanent exhibition mounted by the end of November.

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The Orlando Museum of Art is currently presenting the exhibition ‘Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting’. The opening of the monumental show, which took place on January 25, 2014, marked the beginning of the museum’s 90th anniversary celebration.

The works on view are on loan from the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and were created between 1600 and 1800, a period commonly known as the Golden Age of European painting. During this time, the number of artists and art collectors in Europe grew exponentially. The exhibition presents 71 works including portraits, religious paintings, landscapes and still lifes by artists such as Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael and Thomas Gainsborough.

‘Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting’ will be on view at the Orlando Museum of Art through May 25, 2014.

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:06

Edouard Manet Masterpiece Embarks on Tour of UK

On January 17, London’s National Gallery will send Edouard Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian’ on a tour of the UK. The painting is the first work to embark on the three-year Masterpiece Tour, which is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings. In 2015, Canaletto’s ‘A Regatta on the Grand Canal’ will join the Masterpiece Tour, followed by Rembrandt’s ‘Self Portrait at the Age of 63’ in 2016.

‘The Execution of Maximilian’ depicts the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian being executed alongside two of his generals. Mexican forces captures Maximilian, who was installed in Mexico as a puppet emperor by Napoleon III when Napoleon withdrew his French troops who had been occupying Mexico. After its completion in 1868, the painting was cut into smaller pieces, some of which were sold individually. Edgar Degas eventually purchased all of the surviving fragments and reassembled them on a single canvas.

‘The Execution of Maximilian’ will be on view at the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge through March 16. It will then travel to the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle (March 22-May 18) and the Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick (September 27-December 6). 

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Friday, 13 December 2013 18:04

The Getty’s Curator of Paintings to Retire

Scott Schaefer, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Senior Curator of Paintings, will retire on January 21, 2014. Schaefer joined the Getty in 1999 after stints at Sotheby’s, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Schaefer, who helmed the Getty’s Paintings department for four years, helped the museum acquire a total of 70 paintings and pastels and five sculptures. Among the most important recent acquisitions are the Getty’s first paintings by Paul Gauguin, J.M.W. Turner’s Modern Rome, and a rare self-portrait by Rembrandt.

Timothy Potts, the Getty’s director, said, “Through his acquisitions, Scott has made an impact on every one of the Museum’s paintings galleries and, in particular, transformed our eighteenth-century French collection. We will miss his discerning eye, keen intelligence and above all his unswerving commitment to the Museum.”

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:50

Rijksmuseum Welcomes Two Millionth Visitor

The recently re-opened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam welcomed its two millionth visitor on December 3. The two guests, who were visiting from Israel, were greeted by the museum’s General Director and Sales Manager and given flowers and gifts from the museum shop.

Since opening to the public in April following a ten-year renovation, the Rijksmuseum has been welcoming between 7,000 and 10,000 visitors per day. Most satisfying to museum officials is that for the first time in years, the institution’s Dutch visitors outnumber their foreign counterparts.

Founded in 1885, the Rijksmuseum is dedicated to Dutch art and history. Its illustrious collection includes paintings by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Frans Hals.  

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The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is exhibiting their newly acquired self-portrait by Rembrandt titled Rembrandt Laughing (circa 1628). The work rounds out the Getty’s collection of early Rembrandts, which is the finest of its kind in the United States.

Rembrandt Laughing resided in private collections for centuries before appearing on the market in 2007. The work, which was only known through print reproductions, was attributed to a contemporary of Rembrandt until scholarly analysis and scientific testing proved it to be an authentic painting by the Dutch master. One of nearly 40 self-portraits by the artist, Rembrandt Laughing is the only one in which he appears in costume as he appears dressed like a soldier.

Scott Schaefer, senior curator of paintings at the Getty, said, Painted when Rembrandt was a young, newly independent artist, possibly the third self-portrait of his career, Rembrandt Laughing exemplifies his signature spirited, confident handling of paint and natural ability to convey emotion. It is a measure of the artist’s consummate skill that the dynamism of his pose and the act of laughing translates into a painting of tremendous visual impact, far exceeding its modest dimensions. It is destined to become one of the Getty’s signature paintings.”

Rembrandt Laughing will be exhibited in the museum’s East Pavilion along with four other Rembrandt works – An Old Man in Military Costume (1630-31), The Abduction of Europa (1632), Daniel and Cyrus Before the Idol Bel (1633), and Saint Bartholomew (1661).


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