Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit

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Pendant portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit
Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit.jpeg
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn
Year 1634
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 208 by 132 centimetres (82 in × 52 in)
Location Louvre and Rijksmuseum (joined-ownership)

The Pendant portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit are a pair of full-length wedding portraits by Rembrandt. Formerly owned by the Rothschild family, they became joinedly owned by the Louvre Museum and the Rijksmuseum in 2015 after both museums managed to contribute half of the purchase price of €160 million, a record for works by Rembrandt.[1][2][3]

History[edit]

The portraits were painted by Rembrandt upon the occasion of the wedding of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit in 1634.[1] Although the subjects were painted individually, the portraits have been kept together since their inception.[1] Unlike many 17th-century portrait pairs, these two have always hung side by side in various collections based in Amsterdam or Paris. They are also unusual in Rembrandt's oeuvre for their size and the fact that they show the subjects at full length. Appearing in period inventories at regular intervals since their creation, together they form part of Rembrandt's core oeuvre against which other paintings with a more questionable lineage are compared. The subjects Marten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit are dressed as befits a pair of wealthy Amsterdam newlyweds. Though most in the art world agree these paintings should remain together, it became impossible for France to keep them within its borders, as the Louvre was unable to guarantee the necessary funding required to keep the ministry of culture from providing an export permit. The paintings have not been declared French national heritage.[4]

Provenance[edit]

The portraits were in the possession of the subjects' heirs until their sale in 1877 to Gustave Samuel de Rothschild, a French banker.[3] They were lent for exhibition once only, to the Rijksmuseum in 1956 for the artist's 350th birthday.[5] Before being sold, they were hung in a large hall in the Van Loon collection, described by Eugène Fromentin in 1877 with the remark that they were examples of Rembrandt at his best and were painted in the same period that Rembrandt painted his Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, traditionally marking the beginning of his career in Amsterdam. Clearly, the flamboyance of these young newlyweds did more to launch Rembrandt's career as a portrait painter for the Amsterdam upper class than his sober depiction of a class of serious students in Leiden.[6] The entire Van Loon collection was sold to Rothschild for 40,000 pounds, which at the time was over a million francs.[7]

Wilhelm von Bode was impressed enough to include both in his set of 595 photogravures for his eight-volume 1898 treatise on Rembrandt. Fromentin and Bode had identified the paintings as portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Daey, but it was the Amsterdam historian Isabella Henriette van Eeghen who painstakingly traced their ownership to their original inventories and established the identities of the portrayed.[8]

The current joined ownership is a new arrangement for the Louvre and Rijksmuseum, and it remains to be seen whether this experiment in international art purchasing will fit into exhibition plans of both institutions. Unlike many expensive paintings, these two will not be restricted by location and it is expected that they will be on tour regularly. According to Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum, the paintings will not be separated, and each museum will own 50 percent of each painting.[1]

Other records[edit]

The previous record for a pair of paintings was for two Titians, his Diana and Callisto and Diana and Actaeon, that also hang side by side and are today joinedly owned by the National Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland.[3] The previous record for a painting purchase at the Rijksmuseum was for A Mayor of Delft and his Daughter by Jan Steen, for which they paid 11.9 million euro's in July 2004.[9] The most expensive Rembrandt portrait sold before these is Portrait of a Foreign Admiral, sold at Christie's in December 2009 for £20 million.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Agence France-Presse (30 September 2015). "France and Netherlands to joinedly buy rare Rembrandts". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Bailey, Martin. "Polly wants a Rembrandt". The Art Newspaper, 16 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Siegel, Nina (21 September 2015). "Rembrandt Portraits May Come Home, for Record Price, With Government Help". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Muñoz-Alonso, Lorena (18 March 2015). "Sale of Rembrandt Portraits Owned by Eric De Rothschild Worth €150 Million Sparks Controversy". Artnet. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Photo of the exhibition showing this pair of paintings in 1956.
  6. ^ Commentary by Fromentin in the Digital Library for Dutch Literature
  7. ^ Pendants discussed in Rembrandt, his life, his work and his time, by Emile Michel, 1894; "The two fine full-length portraits of Martin Daey and his wife, bought in August, 1877, with the rest of the Van Loon collection, by the Rothschild family, were taken by the Baron Gustave de Rothschild at a valuation of more than a million of francs (£40,000).'"
  8. ^ Horst Gerson, Rembrandt paintings, catalog numbers 164 & 165, 1968.
  9. ^ "Rijksmuseum acquires painting by Jan Steen (Dutch)". NRC Handelsblad. 16 August 2004. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Rembrandt sale Masterpiece fetches record £20m". Financial Times. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2015.