Treasured for their innovation and their perceptive portrayal of the human psyche, Rembrandt’s etchings have long inspired curatorial research, technical investigation, and multidisciplinary teaching approaches in university and college art collections in the United States, edifying generations of emerging scholars. Through consideration of connoisseurship, reception, and the history of collection-building as well as increasingly quantitative approaches, this multifaceted exhibition will highlight both the scope and the subtlety of Rembrandt as an etcher who employed a wide range of subject matter, process, and materials.
More than sixty impressions from across Rembrandt’s oeuvre will offer a range of subject matter, state groupings, and printing supports, including portraiture, genre scenes, religious narratives, landscapes, study plates, and nudes. Loans highlight the holdings of various academic collections—including those of Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Syracuse, and Yale Universities, Oberlin and Vassar Colleges, and the University of Kansas—as well as the Morgan Library & Museum and private collections.
The accompanying catalogue will incorporate new research and initiatives that examine the status of the printmaker, including an overview of Rembrandt print collecting by American academic collections, a documented account of Oberlin’s secret guardianship of the Morgan Library & Museum’s Rembrandt prints during World War II, and an introduction to Cornell’s Watermark Identification in Rembrandt’s Etchings (WIRE) project, a collaboration among museum staff, faculty, and students dedicated to digitally facilitating access to Rembrandt watermark scholarship.