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Wed Feb 27, 2019, 02:50 PM

Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered Paintings and an Art-World Feud



Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered Paintings and an Art-World Feud

No one had spotted a new painting by the Dutch master for four decades — until the scion of a storied Amsterdam family found two.

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Jan Six XI in his gallery in Amsterdam last year.CreditCreditHellen van Meene for The New York Times


The discovery that upended Jan Six’s life occurred one day in November 2016. Six is a 40-year-old Dutch art dealer based in Amsterdam, who attracted worldwide attention last year with the news that he had unearthed a previously unknown painting by Rembrandt, the most revered of Dutch masters — the first unknown Rembrandt to come to light in 42 years. The find didn’t come about from scouring remote churches or picking through the attics of European country houses, but rather, as Six described it to me last May, while he was going through his mail. He had just taken his two small children to school (in true Dutch fashion, by bicycle: one seated between the handlebars and the other in back). The typical weather for the season, raw wind and spitting rain, would never deter a real Amsterdammer from mounting his bike — and Six’s roots in the city go about as deep as possible — but by the time he arrived at his office, he was feeling the effects. Waterkoud (“water cold”) is the Dutch word for the chilly dampness of the Low Countries that seeps into the bones.

. . . .

Six made coffee that morning, then sat down to a stack of mail. He dispensed with the bills and other annoyances first so as to settle into the catalogs of coming art auctions. One was for a December event at Christie’s in London. He skimmed it quickly, almost dismissively; it was for the daytime sale, which featured lesser objects. The top paintings and sculptures are always reserved for the evening. And then, he told me, he stopped cold. The slightly miscolored photograph in the catalog was a portrait of a rather dazed-looking young gentleman with a lace collar and a proto-Led Zeppelin coif. What first spoke to Six was the gaze of the subject (whose identity remains unknown): “He pierces the image,” he said. Six felt that he had seen the work before, but after tearing through his library in search of it, he came to believe it wasn’t the actual image that struck him as familiar but the sum of all the telltale features of an early Rembrandt. These include, in Six’s estimation, the humanness of that gaze, a “rounded” brush stroke and a willingness to employ different painting styles within the same work.



The painting dated from somewhere between 1633 and 1635. The giveaway was the particular type of lace collar, which was the height of fashion in that brief span and then quickly went out of style. What especially excited Six was not just that Christie’s had failed to see that the painting was most likely from the hand of the master, but also that the auction house had labeled it “circle of Rembrandt” — i.e., from a follower. “You see the problem, right?” he asked me. I was puzzling for the solution to the riddle when he blurted it out: “Rembrandt wasn’t famous yet in the early 1630s, so there was no circle. I knew right away Christie’s had screwed up.” From there, Six was a bloodhound on the trail. He learned that the painting’s provenance went back to Sir Richard Neave, an English merchant of the late 1700s who built a serious art collection, which included works by Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable; the painting had stayed in the same family for six generations. This fit: It made sense that a painting by a top-tier artist would have attracted a prominent collector.


Six was so excited that he jumped on his bike and cycled a short distance across central Amsterdam to the home of Ernst van de Wetering, universally renowned as a top authority on Rembrandt; still breathless, Six thrust a photocopy of the picture at him. As befits a person whose opinion is weighted with import, van de Wetering typically reacts with reserve on first seeing an image, but he was intrigued. “It looked like a Rembrandt, but it was completely new to me,” van de Wetering told me later. Six cycled back home and bought a plane ticket. There were a few people in the Christie’s London showroom when he arrived, Six told me, so he looked at other paintings until they left, then made his way to the portrait, studied it and took pictures of it. “I was shocked, because it had a different appearance in person,” he said. “It had far more depth.”

. . . . . .
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/magazine/rembrandt-jan-six.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

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Reply Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered Paintings and an Art-World Feud (Original post)
niyad Feb 2019 OP
TeamPooka Feb 2019 #1
niyad Feb 2019 #2
suffragette Mar 2019 #3
niyad Mar 2019 #4

Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2019, 01:28 AM

1. Read the full article. Amazing story.

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 28, 2019, 12:15 PM

2. indeed it was.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Mar 23, 2019, 03:24 PM

3. Fascinating article. Well worth the full read.

Looked for more info on the other Rembrandt that Six discovered and found this Wikipedia page that includes the painting with extensive overpainting and in the process of being restored:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffer_little_children_to_come_unto_me





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Response to suffragette (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 25, 2019, 11:10 AM

4. thank yo so much for finding and sharing those with us!!

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