French President François Hollande and Dutch Royals Visit Jointly Acquired Rembrandts at the Louvre
All's well that ends well.
Yesterday, French President François Hollande and King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands went to the Louvre Museum in Paris to view the pair of Rembrandt portraits bought jointly by the French museum and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.
Artdaily reports that the Dutch King and Queen, who are in France as part of an official visit, got a sneak peek at the storied paintings ahead of their public unveiling later that day.
The 1634 portraits of Marten Soolmans and his fiancée Oopjen Coppit have been the center of much controversy over the past year.
Though the artworks were part of a private collection, the French Ministry of Culture and the Louvre—who granted Eric de Rothschild the export permit which made the sale of the paintings to another country a possibility—faced harsh criticism after news of the paintings’ potential sale reached the public last year.
However, after a long negotiation, the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre museum came to an agreement to jointly purchase the two works, with support from the governments of the Netherlands and France respectively. Each footed half of the €160 million ($180 million) bill. This is the largest sum ever paid by a French museum for an art work.
Rembrandt painted very few full-length portraits in his lifetime, meaning the acquisition of the works attracted a lot of attention. The last comparable Rembrandt work that entered the market was Aristotle, sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for $2.3 million in 1961.
Though negotiations and the collecting of funds were complicated, the two museums have come to a deal which keeps the paintings from being separated, and assures the works will be available for viewing by the public.
The last time these paintings—which depict young and successful couple painted just before their wedding in 1634—were displayed in public was in 1956, the first time in over 150 years.
The paintings will be on display at the Louvre for the next three months, followed by three months at the Rijksmuseum, and then will undergo restoration.
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