March 15, 2013

Novi Sad City Museum welcomes home "The old man with the fur cap" -- but did Serbian police recover a Rembrandt painting?

The Novi Sad City Museum welcomes home
"The old man with the fur cap"
This week did Serbian police recover a painting by Rembrandt or a known fake? The Portrait of the Father stolen from the Novi Sad City Museum in 2006 has been deemed a fake Rembrandt, according to ARCA Trustee Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg, authors of "Stealing Rembrandts" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011).

An appendix in "Stealing Rembrandts" includes Portrait of Rembrandt's Father as one of more than 80 "Rembrandt" artworks stolen in the past century (excludes works looted by the Nazis during WW II).

According to CODART, the specialists in Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide, the painting is likely a copy of a Rembrandt painting at Tyrolean State Museum in Austria: Old Man with Fur Cap, 1630.

The Novi Sad "Rembrandt" oil painting was recovered 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Novi Sad (BBC) and more than four people have been arrested in connection with the robbery.

According to Nicholas Wood in The New York Times ("Rubens and Rembrandt, a Day's Loot for Balkan Gangs" February 19, 2006), two masked men carrying a pistol robbed the Navi Sad City Museum on January 8, 2006:
In just 15 minutes, they tied up an unarmed night watchman and a museum guide and, standing on antique furniture, lifted the paintings off the walls. One of the four works taken in the January theft was attributed to Rubens, another to Rembrandt.
The thieves then 'walked out the front door ... loaded their haul into a parked car and drove away, confident that the police had not been informed' because the museum did not have an alarm system. After years of war and a struggling economy, the city had scheduled a $50,000 alarm system to be installed on January 15 (the thieves struck one week early). The stolen paintings came from the collection of Branko Illic, a doctor. [Woods, NYT]

On March 13, the Novi Sad City Museum welcomed home "Old man in a fur cap"; three paintings remain missing: 

Unknown Flemish painter,
 Life Head of Christ, oil on panel
Rubens's studio,
the first half of the 17th century,
 bust of Seneca oil on board
Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666)
Night landscape with fishermen, oil on canvas


Post a Comment