Rembrandt exhibition to debut at NC art museum
Posted September 13, 2011
Updated October 25, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — The largest number of Rembrandt paintings from American collections ever assembled will debut at the North Carolina Museum of Art in October, officials said Tuesday.
The Rembrandt in America exhibition will present more than 30 autograph paintings by the Dutch master on loan from private collections and more than two dozen American art museums. Officials said it is the first major exhibition to explore how the desire for Rembrandt paintings by American collectors fueled critical connoisseurship and research about the artist’s work.
After its Raleigh debut, the exhibition will will visit the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2012.
“This exhibition is a visual treat of some of Rembrandt’s finest paintings now residing in American collections," Dennis Weller, curator of Northern European art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, said in a statement. "The show also offers a rare opportunity for visitors to follow the evolving opinions of scholars regarding what makes for an authentic painting by Rembrandt.”
The history of Rembrandt collecting in the United States began in the late 19th century, when wealthy American industrialists, including J. Paul Getty, Andrew Mellon and George Eastman, desired these works of art as trophies for their collections, officials said. A collecting frenzy erupted, and paintings by Rembrandt left Europe in substantial numbers for America.
In this highly competitive and lucrative market, many of the works that came to America were misattributed to Rembrandt van Rijn by scholars and art dealers, officials said, noting that America soon became the proving ground for new Rembrandt discoveries and reattributions.
Each venue will display 15 to 20 Dutch paintings that were attributed to Rembrandt at some point during their history in American collections but have since been ascribed to his pupils and contemporaries, officials said.
“Rembrandt collecting has always been a challenging field and questions of authenticity have plagued Rembrandts for centuries, even during the artist’s own lifetime,” Jon Seydl, the Paul J. and Edith Ingalls Vignos Jr. Curator of European Paintings and Sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art, said in a statement. “American audiences will now enjoy not only the opportunity to surround themselves with so many of Rembrandt’s works but also the chance to explore why some works attributed to him have been reconsidered."
One of the most important painters in the history of European art, Rembrandt is renowned for his ability to depict light and shadow, capture the emotions of his sitters and share historical and religious stories. He was born in 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic, now The Netherlands, and spent most of his career in Amsterdam.
“Rembrandt’s development as a painter, from brash young artist to confident master to resolute observer of timeless humanity, is well documented in this exhibition with works spanning nearly the full extent of his remarkable career,” Thomas Rassieur, curator of prints and drawings at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, said in a statement.
The exhibition will run from Oct. 30 through Jan. 22 at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Tickets go on sale Thursday and are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students and $12 for children ages 7 to 12.
Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 919-715-5923 or in person at the museum box office.