Information from the museum, 16 December 2014
Portrait of a man painted in 1658 returns to the house where it was created.
From Tuesday 16 December the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam is exhibiting the Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo. Rembrandt painted this impressive work in 1658, the year he had to leave his home in Breestraat as a consequence of his bankruptcy. Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo may well be one of the last works that Rembrandt made in this house. The Rembrandt House Museum is therefore delighted that after more than three and a half centuries the work, currently owned by an American art dealer, is returning to the place where it was created. ‘We are overjoyed to have the chance to show this important work to the public—particularly since in all probability it was painted in this house, and because it has never before been seen by Dutch museum visitors. It is a perfect fit with our strategy of bringing Rembrandt closer to the public as a painter, as a man and as a teacher,’ said Michael Huijser, director of the Rembrandt House Museum. Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo will be on display until 17 May 2015.
There is much speculation about the identity of the man in the painting. His pose is strikingly self-assured and his clothes are unconventional. The work was once owned by Daniel Daulby, the famous English painter and collector of Rembrandt’s etchings. It later went to the United States, where George Huntington Hartford gifted it to Columbia University. Afterwards it was sold to John Seward Johnson. His widow, the art historian and collector Barbara Piasecka Johnson, finally put it up for sale.
Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo will be displayed with the portrait of the clergyman Eleazer Swalmius that Rembrandt painted some twenty years earlier, in 1637, which the Rembrandt House has on long-term loan from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. The opportunity to see the two works side by side will give visitors a fascinating insight into the way Rembrandt’s art developed in the intervening years.