From the exhibition website
To mark the occasion of the Netherlands‘ presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg’s museums present a collection of engravings by Rembrandt from the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Museum of Amsterdam.
Rembrandt (1606-1669) has always been a magnet for collectors of etchings. Initially stemming from his engravings, his reputation soon spread abroad. Still today, the quest for the rare engravings of this genius of Amsterdam shows that they enjoy a quasi-mythic status.
Although Rembrandt was trained as a painter and not as a printmaker, his extraordinary personality was essentially concentrated around this second activity. He was the first artist to undertake a systematic exploration of the aesthetic opportunities offered by what was then the very recent process of etching, using it alone or in conjunction with dry point. Rembrandt thus revived this technique which, by allowing him to make incisions in the metal directly, perfectly translated the spontaneity of the emotion-induced line. In his painting Rembrandt confined himself to the genres in vogue at the time – historical subjects, biblical scenes or portraits -, but extended his vision to all fields and dealt even with those traditionally the preserve of specialized painters. Despite sometimes falling out of favour in the course of the years as a painter, as the creator of such magical engravings, Rembrandt has never ceased to impress artists and art-lovers since the XVIIth century.
This Dutch collection “Maecenas” from the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis is the result of a 250-year old passion for art on the part of the Buisman family. To house and manage this collection, the Group Ten Doesschate Buisman acquired a sumptuous house in the centre of Amsterdam, and it is this Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Museum under the management of this Foundation for the preservation of the heritage which welcomes the public to its rooms, furnished in the styles of various periods, and to its landscape garden.
In order to enhance its scientific knowledge of the collection, the Foundation has commissioned a study of the manufacture and the origin of the papers used for Rembrandt’s engravings. This has revealed that the papers came from various manufactures located along the Rhine. They were brought by boat to Amsterdam from such places as the Belgian Ardennes and Basle, in the latter case via Alsace. This research has also led to the dating of certain prints, some of which were made in Rembrandt’s workshop, whereas others date after his time. Thanks to the watermarks it has at last been possible to identify each one of them. An account of this study is to be found in the catalogue of the exhibition “Etchings by Rembrandt – Reflections of the Golden Age”.
In Strasbourg, 51 etchings from the collection of the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Museum will be on view at the Heitz Gallery, which has been refurbished for this occasion. This exhibition has already been presented at such prestigious venues as the Palace of the United Nations in Geneva, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, at St. Petersburg and in Taiwan.
This exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of the Netherlands Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe and the Theo van Doesburg Association. It forms part of the cultural programme marking the Netherlands’ presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Etchings by Rembrandt: reflections of the Golden Age: the Maecenas collection, Amsterdam (Van Rossum & Co.) 1996.