It’s a Rembrandt… or is it?

This weekend the Minneapolis Institute of Arts presents “Rembrandt in America,” an exhibition that examines the life and career of the 17th century Dutch artist.


Rembrandt painted this self-portrait after he went bankrupt.

Image courtesy of the MIA

MPR’s Euan Kerr reports the exhibition also addresses the confusion over which paintings are actually his work.

There are 30 portraits, self-portraits, historical and mythological depictions, all from the brush of the master himself. All of them come from U.S. museums or private collections, hence the name for the exhibit, “Rembrandt in America.”

The other 20 pictures exhibited also come from US collections and were once credited to Rembrandt, but no longer. The confusion stems from the workshop system where artists would teach apprentices to paint in their style. Some became so good it can be unclear which were the work of the master and which were by the student. And that, [MIA Director Kaywin] Feldman says, is the other important part of the exhibition.

“It’s absolutely a fascinating story,” she said, “Because in 1968, the Dutch government formed something called the Rembrandt Research Project which was intended to figure out exactly which pictures were by Rembrandt, because at the turn of the last century it was thought there were close to a thousand works by Rembrandt. We are now closer to 300 and declining rapidly.”

Back in the 1930’s a survey identified 175 Rembrandts in US collections. Scholars now believe the actual number is just a third of that. Even with the Research Project there is still disagreement over many pieces, and the MIA staff hope visitors will make up their own minds.

You can read the full story here.

Comments are closed.