The Standard Bearer, a self-portrait by 17th century artist Rembrandt van Rijn, will be in Dutch hands yet again, Het Parool reports.
The work had long been part of private collections, its latest owner being French banking family the Rothschilds, which had offered it up for sale a few years ago. When on Tuesday the French government announced it refrained from buying it, the news caused excitement in the Netherlands, which was eager to acquire the important piece by its preeminent painter.
Pooling the asking price of €175 million took both public and private efforts, with the state contributing €150 million, the Rembrandt Association €15 million, and the Dutch national museum, the Rijksmuseum, €10 million.
With the Rothschild family agreeing to the deal, the Dutch can soon admire the self-portrait on home turf. The Rijksmuseum, which already houses a sizable number of Rembrandts, plans to give it a place of honour.
Minister of Culture Ingrid Van Engelshoven was proud to present the news: “With this joint purchase, we are making one of Rembrandt’s most beautiful works accessible to everyone. After hundreds of years, the work now falls back into public hands and will remain so forever. This way everyone can enjoy this painting of enormous cultural and historical value.”
Taco Dibbits, director of the Rijksmuseum, had been vying for the piece for years, and had established a good relationship with the Rothschild family— in particular with the heirs of Élie de Rothschild, to whom the painting belonged. “For generations we dreamed of returning ‘The Standard Bearer’ to our country. Now that the opportunity presents itself, we are joining forces to acquire this Rembrandt for the Netherlands for eternity,” he said.
The Senate and House of Representatives are in talks to approve purchase of the work. Once they agree, the purchase will be final.