Dutch Government to Pay Half in Record $180 Million Deal for Rembrandt Portraits

Its up to the Rijksmuseum to close the deal.

Portrait of Marten Soolmans (1634) Photo: Rijksmuseum
Portrait of Marten Soolmans (1634) Photo: Rijksmuseum
Rembrandt Portrait of Oopjen Coppit (1634) Photo: Rijksmuseum via the New York Times

Rembrandt Portrait of Oopjen Coppit (1634).
Photo: Rijksmuseum.

On Monday the Dutch government pledged €80 million ($90.3 million) to help the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam acquire two Rembrandt portraits, according to the New York Times, effectively matching the institution’s commitment to enable the purchase of the paintings from French entrepreneur Éric de Rothschild, who will reportedly part with the paintings for €160 million ($180.6 million).

Painted in 1634, the works depict Marten Soolmans and his fiancée Oopjen Coppit. For the past 400 years, they have been kept in private hands, and have only had a public viewing once in the last 150 years.

Portrait of Marten Soolmans (1634) Photo: Rijksmuseum via the New York Times

Portrait of Marten Soolmans (1634)
Photo: Rijksmuseum via the New York Times

The portraits left the Netherlands in 1877 when they were sold to French financier Gustave de Rothschild by the subject’s heirs. Now the masterpieces could return to Amsterdam after the current owner—the original buyer’s great-grandson—received an export license by the French Ministry of Culture.

The Rijksmuseum hopes to acquire the portraits from the French businessman Éric de Rothschild. Photo: Fred Merz via Rezo.ch

The Rijksmuseum hopes to acquire the portraits from the French businessman Éric de Rothschild.
Photo: Fred Merz via Rezo.ch.

Taco Dibbits, director of collections at the Rijksmuseum, insisted that the large sum of money was worth spending because artworks of such quality almost never come on the market. “The last Rembrandt that is comparable to this one is the Aristotle that sold in 1961 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” he said.

At the time, the museum paid $2.3 million for the painting.


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