They’re Coming Home…

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Two masterpieces by Rembrandt come to the Netherlands from France for good. The Rijksmuseum and the Dutch government put together 160 million euro. In The Rijksmuseum’s own words, they do everything in their power to get the financing for this purchase.

In 1634 Rembrandt painted the marriage portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, daughter of an Amsterdam elite family, which had in recent years been in the possession of the wealthy French family Rothschild. The two paintings are the greatest portraits by Rembrandt: they both measure 2.10 meters tall and 1.35 meters wide. (7 x 4.48 feet)

The government will take half of the purchase price on its behalf, confirmed a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to press agency ANP after a report in De Telegraaf newspaper, which is a reconstruction of the secret negotiations held in recent weeks about the acquisition . The Rijksmuseum must now care for the remainder of the funding, says director Wim Pijbes of the National Museum in NRC newspaper.

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(If) the deal goes through, it would be the largest acquisition in the history of the Rijksmuseum until now. The Rembrandt Association sets a contribution in prospect. In a morning RTL News program the president of the association said that it is emphatically the idea that the paintings go on tour once they are in the Netherlands because they are “national treasures”.

Minister Dijsselbloem, of the Department of Finance would use 50 million euros in dividends from state-owned companies for the purchase, Minister Bussemaker of the Department of Education, Culture and Science would fetch 30 million from a special fund for art purchases. In recent weeks, the Rijksmuseum spoken to several individuals.

media_xl_3129571Late last year, the Rijksmuseum bought a bronze statue of a Bacchante by Adriaen de Vries for the record sum of 22.5 million euros*. That was the highest amount ever paid by the Rijksmuseum for a piece of art. The largest art acquisition by the Netherlands was the purchase of the “Victory Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian in 1997 for 37 million euros. The work since then can be found in the Municipal Museum in The Hague.

*I went to a lecture last week about this statue and the life and work of Adriaen de Vries.

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