CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Drawings by Rembrandt, his students and circle from the Maida and George Abrams Collection

Exhibition: 24 September 2011 - 8 January 2012

From the museum website, 26 July 2011

The exhibition Drawings by Rembrandt, his students and circle from the Maida and George Abrams Collection presents highlights from one of the finest private collections of Dutch drawings in the world, assembled over five decades by George and Maida Abrams.

• This show features ten works by Rembrandt as well as nearly fifty drawings by his pupils and followers, including sheets never before exhibited or published.
• This will be the first time that any works by Rembrandt have ever been exhibited at the Bruce Museum.

The show is organized by the Bruce Museum’s Executive Director, Peter C. Sutton, who is a specialist in Northern Baroque art. The full-color, 200-page catalogue of the exhibition is written by Dr. Sutton and includes individual catalogue entries contributed by an expert in the field, William W. Robinson, the Maida and George Abrams Curator at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.

The collection has been exhibited at:
• Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Albertina in Vienna
• Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and the British Museum in London
• Fogg Art Museum at Harvard

But never before has its special strengths in the drawings of Rembrandt and his School been the subject of a focused exhibition.

The exhibition

The exhibition reveals the expressive mastery and dazzling freedom of Rembrandt’s pen drawings and investigate the character and use of individual drawings, from figure studies made from life, to finished drawings composed in the studio, to landscape studies executed en plein air on his walks outside Amsterdam.

The show and its catalogue also investigate the functions of drawings in Rembrandt’s studio and their relationship to his teaching practices. Some drawings by Rembrandt’s students and followers seem to have been assignments, for example, in how best and most accurately to convey the narrative drama of a historical subject. Others clearly were life studies designed to train the eye and hand, preparatory to more finished works, be it another drawing, print or a painting. Some were topographic studies or the records of travel or novelties to be consulted in the future. But all achieve the expressive power that we associate with Rembrandt’s mastery. The exhibition is also be supplemented with one or two paintings by Rembrandt from private collections.

In addition to Rembrandt’s works, the exhibition will include sheets by his pupils and associates, including Jan Lievens, Govert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Samuel van Hoogstraten, Abraham Furnerius, Jacob Koninck, Nicolaes Maes, Constantijn van Renesse, Jacob Backer, Lambert Doomer, Philips Koninck, Willem Drost, Anthonie van Borssom, Pieter de With, Roelant Roghman, Johannes Leupinius, Arent de Gelder as well as an anonymous follower of the master.

Although not all of these artists are documented as Rembrandt’s students, the biographies of the individual artists will review the evidence for their traditional connection with the master. The catalogue of the exhibition and the show’s interpretive material will also address the difficult issues of connoisseurship in this field.

Collection of Maida and George Abrams

The exceptional breadth of the Abrams collection enables the exploration of the diversity and parameters of Rembrandt’s style, including not only compositional and figure studies but also landscapes, and chalk as well as ink drawings.


The exhibition Drawings by Rembrandt, his students and circle from the Maida and George Abrams Collection is underwritten by Viacom, J.P. Morgan, David T. Langrock Foundation, The Netherland-America Foundation, The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund, The Seiden-Luke Fund for Exhibitions and Publications, Winged Keel Group, and a Committee of Honor co-chaired by Marei von Saher and Michel Witmer.

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