A Painting Stolen in Draguignan Recovered, but It Is not a Rembrandt !

Anonymous French artist, 18th century ?
Young Boy with Soap Bubble
Draguignan, Musée municipal
Oil on canvas - 60 x 49 cm
Photo : D. R. (domaine public)

19/3/14 - Art theft - Draguignan, Musée municipal - Contrary to the information found generally in the media these past few days, the painting which was recovered by the OCBC after being stolen fifteen years ago at the Musée in Draguignan in the Var, is not a Rembrandt. Only Vincent Noce, in Libération, states cautiously that the work "appears much too poor to be by the Amsterdam genius" and that "it is probably a painting inspired by him, even displaying a bit of the coquetterie typical rather of the 18th century" (but the title of the article still says that authorities recovered a Rembrandt...).
Jacques Foucart, former curator of Northern European painting at the Louvre, whom we contacted, confirmed that this is indeed an 18th century French painting inspired by Rembrandt which can be attributed to an artist like Santerre or Raoux, or in the circle of Grimou [1]. This is no doubt an interesting work but is in no way as important in quality as a real Rembrandt.

We find it truly deplorable, once again, that art history should be considered such a second rate discipline that the credibility of certain attributions are not looked at more closely. But of course, a big name is sure to sell...

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 19 mars 2014


[1] Addendum - 19/3/14 : a similar painting, attributed to Hoogstraten, was up for sale at Caretto’s in Turin in 1996 (oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm) and another one at Christie’s on 10 December 2004 (lot 7 as a follower of Rembrandt, oil on canvas, 65 x 54 cm), then on 14 September 2005 in London (details provided by Jacques Foucart).

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