Lyon, 12 October 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
Last year an art collector bought a portrait, estimated at €80, for €130 at an auction he entered by chance. Since that day, he has researched who the portrait belonged to, as it is believed to be a painting by the Dutch master, Rembrandt. According to the collector, the sullen old lady represented in the 20cm long painting, could be the Dutch painter’s mother.
Different elements have led the buyer to closely concentrate on the painting and have confronted his intuition:
- First of all, it is confirmed that there is a wax seal on the back of the painting. The seal displays a crowned eagle carrying a globe and a sceptre, as well as the end of a word: ISE. The Seal service of the French ministry of culture believes it is the seal of from the early 18th century. It is considered to be the seal of Frederick-William I, King of Prussia. He was in Netherlands between 1620 and 1637 and offered this painting to his wife Louise Amalie of Brunswick-Lueneburg.
- Christie’s experts have confirmed that the woman in the portrait, is in fact the painter’s mother. She appears regularly in the master’s works, particularly in Night Watch, where she is depicted as a prophetess.
- The owner noticed a capital “R” in the lower right angle of the painting – Rembrandt used to sign his works this way.
- Continuing his research, the collector decided to take the painting to a famous Parisian restoration studio, Atelier du temps passé. The owner of the Atelier, examined the painting with a digital microscope and advised the buyer to make a scientific study. The owner of the painting took an x-ray of the work, which revealed elements invisible to the naked eye. The result was astonishing: a complete signature and a date, 1625, appeared.
The next stage in the authentication of the work will be an infrared spectrometry, scheduled for January 2012. It will be carried out by the Royal Belgian Institute for a symbolic sum.
To date, Rembrandt’s first work – Stoning of Saint Stephen – dating back to 1625, is exhibited at Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.
The art world cannot exclude the theory that the artwork is false, since there is still no irrefutable proof (positive or negative). It is evident that numerous false works, attributed to the master of the Dutch Golden Age, are circulating the art market and even museums.
If it turns out that the collector is in possession of a real Rembrandt painting, then the price will be undoubtedly doubled. This is simply due to the fact that this would be the artist’s first ever painting, produced while he was still living with his parents and at the age of 19.