Recent acquisitions of the Rijksmuseum

30/06/2007 — Acquisitions — Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum — The Rijksmuseum had announced some months ago that it was negotiating the purchase of the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet by Rembrandt, belonging to a private collection in the United Kingdom and which was in Amsterdam as part of an exhibit. It seems that the museum was not able to raise the needed sum (about £40 million). The painting returned to England where the owners stated they “would consider any serious offer” [1].

This setback, however, did not prevent the Dutch museum from making some remarkable acquisitions recently.

1. After Giulio Romano, c. 1545
Scipio Africanus Arriving in Carthago,
Tempera on canvas
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

2. After Giulio Romano, 1688-1689
Scipio Africanus Arriving in Carthago
(History of Scipio, 6th piece)
wool, silk - 450 x 548 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : RMN / Martine Beck-Coppola

- A large cartoon after Giulio Romano (ill. 1) used for weaving a tapestry based on The History of Scipio and produced probably in Brussels or Northern Italy. It is slightly different from the original (ill. 2) which shows two ships whereas here there is only one. This purchase dates back to 2004 but was announced only last June 13th.

3. Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611)
Hercules Being Led by Wisdom (Minerva)
and Virtue to the Temple of Fame
, c. 1591
Pen and brown wash
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

- A drawing by Bartholomeus Spranger (ill. 3), a preliminary study for an engraving produced by Jan Muller. It was acquired at auction where the document was identified by the museum.

4. Dirck van Delen (1605-1671)
The Iconoclastic Outbreak of 1566, 1630
Oil on panel
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

- A panel (ill. 4) acquired in 2007, by Dirck van Delen, an architectural painter whose figures are often rendered by other artists. The work is exceptional due to its iconography. It is the only known example of a painting representing the iconoclast crisis of 1566, an important stage in the arrival of Calvinism in the Netherlands. The work was unknown. It represents a church, probably imaginary, where three Protestants are pulling on a rope to throw down the statue of a bishop which a fourth culprit perched on a ladder has tied up. On the right, another piece of sculpture already lies on the floor broken and in the background a group of people is running towards the altar where two others are climbing up the monumental altarpiece.

- A painting by Jan Toorop (ill. 5), the Portrait of Mme J. Lange, produced in 1900 and done in the pointillist style. The model was a “feminist”, president of the “Association for the Improvement of Women’s Clothes” who militated for the abolition of corsets ! This painting was sold to the museum by Christie’s in November 2005 for 818, 400 euros (charges included).

5. Jan Toorop (1858-1928)
Portrait of Mrs M.J. de Lange, 1900
Oil on canvas - 70 x 77 cm
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

- An early landscape by Piet Mondrian (ill. 6) acquired in 2006 and dating from around 1903 at a time when the young painter was still strongly influenced by the Hague School, a long way from abstract painting.

6. Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)
Mill at Moonlight, c. 1903
Oil on canvas
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

- A surprising Self-portrait as Saint John the Baptist by Carel Willink (ill. 7) dating from 1937-1939 which was acquired in early 2007 due partly to a donation by the artist’s wife. This is one of a series of selfportraits where he represents himself in the guise of different biblical figures highlighting the theme of repentance. The artist takes his inspiration here, in a very obvious manner, from Nordic XVth C. painting.

7. Carel Willink (1900-1983)
Self-portrait as saint John the Baptist, 1937-1938
Oil on canvas
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

Finally, let us remember that a year ago the Rijksmuseum had been forced, along with other Dutch museums, to return the paintings plundered from the Jacques Goudstikker collection [2]. The 202 works were divided into three sales : one took place in New York on April 19, 2007, the other two will take place respectively in London on July 5th and in Amsterdam on November 14, 2007. Version française

Didier Rykner, samedi 30 juin 2007


[1] According to The Art Newspaper of June 2007.

[2] This restitution by the Rijksmuseum included paintings by Jan van der Heyden, Jan Steen (The Sacrifice of Iphigenia), Gerard ter Borch, Anne Vallayer-Coster, Pieter Gerritsz van Roestraten et Jan van Goyen.

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