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Louvre and Rijksmuseum to share Rembrandts bought from Rothschild (Updated with Video)

French President Francois Hollande, King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands pose in front of two Rembrandt paintings during a visit at the Louvre Museum in Paris

By Laetitia Volga

A pair of Rembrandt portraits owned privately for more than 130 years went on public display in Paris on Thursday, bought under shared ownership by the French capital’s Louvre museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The portraits date back to 1634 and depict Amsterdam trader Marten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit. They were painted by the Dutch master for the couple’s wedding and the portrait is considered a defining example of his work.

Bought by Baron Gustave de Rothschild in 1877 and kept in France ever since, the pair of paintings, for which the museums paid 160 million euros, will spend five and then eight years by turns in each museum, always staying together.

French President Francois Hollande, King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands stand in front of a Rembrandt painting during a visit at the Louvre Museum in Paris
French President Francois Hollande, King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands stand in front of a Rembrandt painting during a visit at the Louvre Museum in Paris

Initially they will hang in the Louvre for three months before moving to the Rijksmuseum, where they will undergo restoration.

The two full-body portraits are mainly in black and white and each stand more than two metres tall. They were unveiled in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands during a visit by the Dutch royal couple.

“This is an exceptional work, legendary in Rembrandt’s repertoire. This type of full-body portrait did not exist in Holland in the 17th century.” said Sebastien Allard, director of paintings at the Louvre.

“They are among the most valuable paintings of the era.”



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