Published: February 4, 2016
LONDON — The first ever joint acquisition of two masterpieces by Rembrandt van Rijn by the French and Dutch states, facilitated through Christie’s private sale channel was concluded on February 1. The portraits of Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit were executed in 1634, a year after the couple’s wedding. It was announced by the two countries that the pair will be always shown together, alternately at the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum but will be owned separately due to French acquisition laws. They are due to be exhibited publicly for the first time in 60 years at the Louvre in Paris in a few weeks. The joint acquisition of the portraits by the two countries for allocation to the museums in a deal negotiated by Christie’s is the first of its kind. The portraits entered the prestigious Rothschild collection in 1878 and were last exhibited publicly in 1956 in the Netherlands. As a result, they are the least known masterpieces in Rembrandt’s oeuvre.
Patricia Barbizet, chief executive officer, Christie’s, commented, “To have played our part in this historic sale of these magnificent masterpieces from such a prestigious private collection is a fitting start to this 250th anniversary year for Christie’s. It is a testament to the vision shown by the French Republic, the Louvre, the State of the Netherlands and the Rijksmuseum that these two great Rembrandt van Rijn portraits will now take their place among the greatest works of art, in the heart of Europe, to be appreciated for many generations to come.”
Of the two works, German art historian Wilhelm von Bode in 1897 wrote, “‘The young husband, with his smooth, almost girlish face, and rich, dandified costume, who advances trippingly towards the spectator, dangling a glove, is a perfect type of the successful courtier, half coxcomb, half adventure. . . .The wife, on the other hand […], is such an embodiment of distinction as few painters have put on canvas. Arresting her graceful progress for a moment, she gazes at the spectator with a singular expression of reserve.”
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm