As part of its season devoted to the Dutch Golden Age, the Musée du Louvre is presenting a selection of masterpieces by 17th-century Dutch painters from the collection of Thomas Kaplan and his wife, Daphne Recanati Kaplan. This selection, brought together at a major international museum for the first time, showcases the largest private collection of works by Rembrandt. Visitors will discover some thirty paintings and drawings by the greatest painters of the Golden Age from the region of Leiden in the Netherlands, primarily ten works by Rembrandt and a painting recently attributed to the artist.
Among the Leiden Collection’s Rembrandt paintings is the Minerva, a particularly spectacular large-format work, part of a series of strong women and mythological goddesses. As its name indicates, this collection highlights the “fine painters” of Leiden, among them Gerrit Dou and Frans van Mieris. It also includes a number of Rembrandts—currently the largest private holding of his work—and numerous “Rembrandtesques.” Thus the collection is made up of excellent pictures by the greatest artists—Jan Steen, Rembrandt, and Jan Lievensz, and their master Lastman, Frans van Mieris, Gerrit Dou, and others—and covers the various specialties of Dutch art.
The thematic presentation shows how a single painter can practice different genres. It also reminds us that Dutch painting, often seen as simultaneously ribald, colorful, charming, and bourgeois, draws on a mixed repertoire and makes use of all the modes from the satirical to the solemn.
On the occasion of this exhibition, the large-format painting Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well is to be officially gifted to the Musée du Louvre by Thomas Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan. The work was painted by Ferdinand Bol (1616–1680), one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils. Acquired by the Kaplans in 2009, the work has been on loan to the Louvre’s Dutch galleries since 2010.