Los Angeles, 5 September 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
Rembrandt’s sketch — entitled Le Jugement (the judgement) and estimated at $250,000 —, that was stolen on 13 August during a sale at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, was mysteriously discovered in a church a few days later. However, authorities refuse to return the drawing to its owner due to doubts surrounding its authenticity.
Dated 1655 and signed on the back, the artist used goose feathers to represent what appears to be a scene from a courtroom. It is an extremely rare piece by the Dutch artist.
The theft happened in a matter of minutes: a man diverted the seller’s attention whilst his accomplice took off with the piece. Le Jugement was rediscovered thanks to a tip off from an anonymous intermediary.
Nevertheless, following several examinations, the authorities are not certain that the work is that of Rembrandt. No expert had previously heard of it, nor does it feature in the catalogue raisonné of the artist. Moreover, its owner, the Linearis Institute, has not been able to provide a certificate of authenticity, nor a sale history for the work. The affaire therefore remains pending.