Exhibit tells lesser known story of Rembrandt's supposed works

Posted January 12, 2012

— Since opening in October, the Rembrandt in America exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art has been a big hit, selling nearly 110,000 tickets.

Visitors have gotten a chance to see the nation's largest collection of authentic paintings by the Dutch painter.

But they've also gotten to learn about one of the art world's greatest controversies.

"Every painting in this exhibition was originally thought to be a Rembrandt," curator Dennis Weller said.

That includes two paintings in the museum's own collection: "Young Man With a Sword" and "The Feast of Esther."

The museum's first director acquired the paintings in the 1950s, but years later, scholars determined they were not authentic.

In the 1600s, Rembrandt had more business than he could handle, Weller said.

"Everyone wanted their portrait painted by Rembrandt, and he physically could not do them all," Weller said. "He brought people in to work in his style."

Art dealers in the late 1800s wrongly attributed hundreds of paintings to Rembrandt.

Exhibit tells story of Rembrandt's supposed works Exhibit tells story of Rembrandt's supposed works

Scholars are still trying to sort it out.

At the end of the exhibition at the museum, visitors can compare a real Rembrandt with one that isn't authentic.

The exhibit runs until Jan. 22.

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  • prpoovey Jan 12, 2012

    Great story! A good opportunity to also see works now thought to have been done by his students/apprentices.
    Phil Poovey