Saturday, May 19, 2018

Previously unknown Rembrandt confirmed

Portrait of a Young Gentleman by Rembrandt
A previously unknown painting by Rembrandt van Rijn has been confirmed by experts. When the portrait came up for auction, identified as by the "School of Rembrandt," Dutch art dealer Jan Six suspected it was the real thing. That lace collar was only popular for a couple years, and those years were before Rembrandt's style was influential.

"Portrait of a young Gentleman is the first unknown painting by the Dutch master to turn up in 44 years and takes his total known painting oeuvre to 342, the NRC reported on Tuesday. Six bought the work 18 months ago at an auction at Christie’s in London on a hunch. He paid the equivalent of €156,000 for the portrait, which is undated and unsigned but which was probably painted in 1634. The portrait, measuring 94.5 cm by 73.5 cm, was sold by a British family who had had the painting in their possession for at least six generations. Six worked with Rijksmuseum experts to authenticate the work, and argues that the primer, pigments, brush strokes and method of composition all point to it being by Rembrandt."
Read more at DutchNews


Spider Rico said...

Most certainly NOT a Rembrandt. From the school yes, but not one of The Masters earlier works when his finish was more luminous, among a plethora of highly significant details and nuances clearly missing forom this piece.

Tom Hart said...

The consensus (so far) of the experts appears to be that this is a Rembrandt. I was surprised the read that. The painting does not "say" Rembrandt to me; quite the contrary. Although the images that I've seen to this point don't allow magnification that would allow closer study of the surface, Rembrandt's typical paint handling (the usual impasto, etc.) doesn't seem to be in evidence. The palette doesn't look like his usual one either. I'll be interested to see how this unfolds.

I'd love to see a documentary of the discovery and examination processes. I wonder if that's in the works.

Daniele Guadagnolo said...

It does not appear as a Rembrandt only because we are mainly familiar with his late or more experimental and influential work.

We have more than 300 Rembrandt paintings. If you look at those from 1630-1635 you can notice significant similarities: subject, color, composition schemes, paint handling.

I'm always fascinated by how a small number of notable masterworks can influence the way we think about the artist, the movement it belonged to or even an era. Think about how roman white marble copies of greek statues infulenced and still influence our idea of classicity, our tastes and our culture.

the bold imasto and value contrasts we miss in this piece are very constant in Rembrandt's wokshop paintings.

Tom Hart said...

Thank you, Daniele. Given the consensus of the experts, your explanation makes sense. Also, it's my understanding that the provenance is quite solid. But having just perused some of the works at the Met (online) in the time frame you mention, I'm still left with the feeling that, at the very least, this is a notably uncharacteristic Rembrandt. (One of the several aspects that gives me pause, among the others I already mentioned, is the flatness of the background.) Again, I concede that the expert opinion is against me. Just because it looks different from many (most?) of his other works doesn't mean it's not by his hand.

rock995 said...

At first I felt like Spider but then Tom and Daniele's observations moved me away from that, and, if the provenance is "quite solid" then...guess it could be. Still don't like it much. Nice collar though.

David Apatoff said...

What if it is a Rembrandt, but a callow and unimpressive Rembrandt?

Then it becomes a subject of excitement for investment bankers, oil barons and Manhattan auction houses. But it doesn't look like there's much here to excite the interest of audiences such as this one, that care about the actual merits of the picture.