January 23, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - , 1 comment

Rembrandt Authentications: Curator at Scottish National Gallery discovered red-ink drawing in its collection -- a rare find in a murky world of authenticating Rembrandt's prints

Scottish National Gallery, Rembrandt 98A:
Jan Cornelius Sylvius
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Tico Seifert, a senior art curator for northern European art at the Scottish National Gallery, identified a Rembrandt etching in the collection: the "rare red-ink picture" authenticated by specialists in Amsterdam, reports Edinburgh Evening News, is a portrait of Jan Cornelis Sylvius, a relative of Rembrandt's wife Saskia and godfather to their daughter Cornelia.
He said: “I was going through the boxes of copies of Rembrandt when the first thing that caught my eye is that it is an impression in red ink. “Normally prints, engravings or etchings are produced in black ink. This particular impression is in a brownish red ink which is pretty rare. That was what first made me hesitate going through to the next one.
“I checked the handbooks for what kind of copy this might be and they said the copies are always in reverse. 
“When I saw it wasn’t, I thought this is most likely not a copy.”
The Scottish National Gallery reports that the etching's provenance is unknown. In the collection posted online, the gallery shows 12 other works by Rembrandt, including an oil on panel of Hannah and Samuel; and two oils on canvases, A Woman in Bed; and Self-Portrait, aged 51.

"The National Galleries of Scotland hold about 100 etchings by Rembrandt, several of which are of superb quality," Dr. Seifert wrote in an email to the ARCAblog.

In 2010, Jenna Johnson for the Washington Post reported in "Etching found at Catholic University may be a Rembrandt" the story of the college's president discovering a framed etching and the process and valuation of a possible Rembrandt work. In July 2012, Dalya Alberge reported for the guardian in "Rembrandt drawing found in Scottish attic" that Christie's would sell the newly discovered artwork.

Here's a link to the Rembrandt Research Project, chaired by Ernst van de Wetering, 'widely accepted as the Rembrandt expert. Mr. van de Wetering authenticated a Rembrandt painting from Buckland Abbey in Devon in 2013. The DVD, Out of the Shadows: Hidden Masterpieces, is produced with the Rembrandt Research Project and the University of Delft. And this video here explains how Rembrandt sold his plates and later drawings were made in the 18th century.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has published on the questions of authenticity in regards to Rembrandt's work. 

At the 2011 Art Crime Conference in Amelia, photographer and researcher Sarah Zimmer spoke about the event of a missing or lost Rembrandt etching in "The Investigation of Object TH 1988.18: Rembrandt's 100 Guilder Print."

The Cleveland Art Museum exhibited "Rembrandt in America" in 2012, discussing what is and what isn't a Rembrandt. The exhibit also visited North Carolina and Minnesota as the 'largest collection of authentic Rembrandt paintings'. The Morgan Library and Museum also showed an exhibit, Rembrandt's World, of the artist's drawings from the Clement C. Moore collection.

In August 2012, a Norwegian art gallery lost an Rembrandt etching in the mail (Reuters, "Norwegian gallery loses a Rembrandt in the mail," August 23, 2012).

In this article, "The 'kissing couple' bride: A remarkable war story remembered", by Debora van Brenk in the London Free Press, a story is told that an 'enterprising wife arranged for delivery of some Rembrandt etchings to high-placed German officers' to free her husband during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands.


I'm sorry, but I cannot accept the Rembrandt Research Project Experts decisions as the gospel on what they say is and what isn't. Simple as that. When computer science and new program techniques comes into practice and makes a few of these decisions, only then will I have myself another look at what these decisions may be.