Forgotten Rembrandt Pulled From Storage in Omaha

Rembrant, Portrait of Dirck van Os, detail. The work was recently reattributed to the master. Photo: courtesy the Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha.
Rembrandt, Portrait of Dirck van Os, detail. The work was recently reattributed to the master. Photo: courtesy the Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha.

Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum has rediscovered a Rembrandt, AFA news reports. The painting, titled Portrait of Dirck van Os, has been in the museum’s collection for 72 years, but had lain forgotten in storage after faulty connoisseurship downgraded its attribution to “The Circle of Rembrandt.”

When the museum bought the work in 1942 it was thought to be by the master, but after it was reclassified some 45 years later, the painting disappeared from the public eye. In 2010, the portrait caught the attention of Rembrandt expert Ernst van de Wetering, who in 2012 had the museum send it to Amsterdam to be restored.

Once the years of accumulated grime and well-intentioned over-painting from early restorations were removed, van de Wetering deemed Portrait of Dirck van Os to be the genuine article, by the hand of Rembrandt himself. According to the Omaha World Herald, the sitter’s lace collar and cross necklace were later embellishments and have been removed.

Rembrant, Portrait of Dirck van Os, before a recent restoration that removed the lace collar and necklace, which were later additions. Photo: courtesy the Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha.

Rembrant, Portrait of Dirck van Os, before a recent restoration that removed the lace collar and necklace, which were later additions.
Photo: courtesy the Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha.

The museum has not given an estimate of the piece’s worth, but other paintings by Rembrandt have sold for millions. The portrait, last seen by the public in 1999, will return to a place of pride at the Joslyn’s Hitchcock Foundation Gallery on May 5. 


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