17 February 2020

Exciting news in the Dutch quality newspaper NRC this afternoon: after ages a Rembrandt painting has resurfaced! “A painting of a young man bought at a London auction house has been identified as the work of Rembrandt, making it the first unknown painting by the Dutch master to turn up in 44 years. Amsterdam art dealer and historian Jan Six discovered the painting, which dates from around 1634 and may be part of a large double portrait. He bought the work, undated and unsigned, 18 months ago at an auction at Christie’s in London.”

Out of interest I traced the painting down on christies.com and it apparently was sold on the 9th of December 2016 for a mere £. 137,000. Now it has been identified as a Rembrandt, it will probably sell for over 5 million euro. Very painful – to say the least – that Christie’s misidentified the artist as a painter in the circle of Rembrandt…ouch! In a Dutch late night talk show a former employee of Christie’s Netherlands said this find does add to the ‘mystique’ of the auction: apparently it is still possible to discover a Rembrandt in such a renowned auction house! Still, he had to acknowledge this sleeper should have been identified as a Rembrandt. He said that the shift in expertise from old masters to modern art (which is more profitable) could be the reason of the error.

Rembrandt van Rijn – Newly discovered portrait of a young man – circa 1634

The portrait had been in the possession of the Neave Baronetcy for ages, but the current baronet sold it two years ago to the auction house. He wasn’t able to give comments about the situation.

TNT Post issued a series of six stamps in 2006 as Rembrandt was born in 1606: his fourth centenary.

Etching of an old woman seated (Probably Rembrandt’s mother)
Etching of a man with beard in eastern garments (maybe Rembrandt’s father)
Rembrandt’s son Titus
Saskia van Uylenburgh: Rembrandt’s wife
Woman standing in the doorway (maybe Rembrandt’s later partner Hendrickje Stoffels)

The stamps were sold in sheets of five. Each stamp could be used for a normal postcard or letter within the Netherlands. Until 01-01-2007 the domestic rate was € 0,39: now you have to lay down € 0,83 for one stamp! A special stamp to be used on registered items was issued simultaneously with the stamps above. The then already crazy rate of € 6,45 was the price to acquire the stamp, but it has to be said you received a very specially crafted item in return.

Etching portraying Rembrandt and his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh. Registered rate € 6,45.

The printing was done by means of copper plates, adding to the ‘special’ effect which made the etching’s lines tangible. A very special stamp indeed! I only do not get how my copy was postmarked by an ordinary cancelling machine… that was (and still is) not the procedure for registered items in the Netherlands. I gather the sender made an expensive mistake by using this stamp for an ordinary letter…

See for more information on the new Rembrandt the article in NRC in 2018. For the original publication see the Dutch Philately blog by Hugo Brieffies.

Hugo Brieffies

Hugo Brieffies

See http://dutchphilately.blogspot.com/ for more articles by Hugo Brieffies

View all posts by Hugo Brieffies →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *