History of the collection
the House that now houses the Museum was built in 1606 and this date, painted in gold, still adorns it on the front wall. In 1906, as part of the Rembradt Year, a Fund was created to buy the artist's house.
On June 10, 1911, the Rembrandt house Museum was officially opened to the public by Queen Wilhelmina. At the suggestion of the artist Jan wet, one of the first Board members of the Museum, it was decided to collect a collection of Rembrandt prints, for which, it seemed, there could hardly be a better place than the house in which most of them were created. The collection was started by Vet himself, temporarily borrowing prints of acceptable quality from the Lebret-vet collection. The first donations did not have to wait long. The first print was donated to the Museum by Paul Warburg from new York. It was a fine early print of " St. Jerome at the pruned willow."
In the same year, the artist Josef Israels presented the new Museum with six prints, among which was "the sacrifice of Abraham" from the famous English collection of William Esdale. Honorary Board member Harsten deserves a special mention. In the beginning, his generous donations helped buy the house, and then helped continue to add to the Fund for purchases. The Rijksmuseum presented the Museum with eleven"twin" prints from its hall of prints, which have since been kept in the Rembrandt house.
The collection grew rapidly. In may 1913, thirty-three Rembrandt drawings from the famous English Heseltine collection were put up for auction in Amsterdam. The Rembrandt house managed to acquire four of them: "a Woman with a child in her arms", "Ruins of the old town hall in Amsterdam", "View of Montelbanstoren"and" Sitting girl, dream". The Rembrandt house also successfully participated in other auctions. In 1914, Jan Wet returned from Berlin with nineteen engravings, including such important works as" Death appeared to a married couple"," the Great lion hunt "and a beautiful print of" the View of Haarlem and Blemendaal " to add to the collection of poorly presented landscapes at that time.
In the war years that followed, the collection's growth temporarily stopped, although in 1915 the institution managed to acquire sixty-six prints from the vet collection, most of which had already been loaned to the Museum. These included several fine and rare prints, including "Flight to Egypt", engraved on a plate by Hercules Segers, and "David and Goliath", made as an illustration for the book of Menasseh Ben-Israel" the Glorious stone " (Amsterdam, 1655).
In 1927, the house of Rembrandt received as a gift from de Bruijn one of the extremely rare copies of the first edition of this mystical work with four illustrations by Rembrandt. Other items received from the vet collection were early prints of the fourth and final version of the Three crosses and a beautiful small portrait of Rembrandt's mother. The Museum's collection of drawings also grew, albeit slowly. In 1919, the Museum got two drawings from the collection of the artist Teresa van Doyle, who bought them at the famous Heseltine auction. These were "Portrait of an old woman" and "Sketch of a woman with a child in her arms", currently attributed to Nicholas Maes. Soon after, another drawing was purchased at the Heseltine auction — "self-Portrait of an artist in a work suit". This meant that the Museum now owns the only full-length self-portrait of the artist.
Jan Wet, the Museum's enthusiast and driving force, died in 1925. His successor on the Board was the collector de Bruijn, who largely assumed the role of vet as curator. By this time, the collection had already become very large. However, there were gaps, mainly among prints from the early period, such as self-portraits and sketches of beggars, only a few of which were rare. In February 1933, six more prints were purchased at the Hauthacker/Hallstein auction, even though the threat of war was already looming. In may 1940, immediately after the invasion, the prints and drawings were placed in a safe in the basement of the house. When the city was threatened with flooding in the spring of 1944, the works of art were moved to a safer location in an above-ground Bank vault, where they remained until liberation.
The Rembrandt Museum reopened in July 1945. This was followed by few adverse years. The lack of funds and lack of funding made it almost impossible for the Museum to make any purchases. However, in 1950, the Museum managed to acquire a reverse print of the fourth version of the Three crosses ,which became an interesting addition to the versions of the engraving that were already in the Museum. The most important post-war acquisition of the Museum was the forty engravings bequeathed to the Museum by de Bruijn, who died in 1962. These included a very rare first version of "self-Portrait with disheveled hair", a beautiful print of" Christ and the Samaritan woman "on Japanese paper from the collection of Pierre Mariette, an intense early trial print of" taking The cross by torchlight", and a beautiful first version of"Bathers".
It became increasingly difficult to fill in the gaps in the collection. Good prints only came out on the market from time to time, but even so, funds were often scarce, which was not surprising because of the prices. Only occasionally was there an opportunity to add something to the collection. For example, in 1977, with the help of the Rembrandt Association, the Museum was able to acquire a drawing of the master's pupil Constantin van Renesse with Rembrandt's edits. Other acquisitions included an engraving of " the Man at the table wearing a chain with a cross "in 1980 and, more recently," the Bald man in profile "and a fourth version of"Flight to Egypt".
The collection in its current form is an almost complete overview of rebrandt's graphic works: 260 of the 290 engravings created by The master are presented. The acquisition of four original engraving plates in 1993 was extremely important. Before that, they were part of a collection of 78 copper plates, which has remained a single unit since it was first mentioned in the inventory of the property of the Amsterdam dealer in engravings and prints, Clement de Jonghe. De Jonghe probably purchased the plates from Rembrandt himself. In January 1993, the collection was put up for sale, and the Rembrandt house Museum was given the first choice. Thanks to donations from various organizations, the government and many individuals, the Museum was able to purchase four of the most interesting and best-preserved specimens.
In addition to the collection of engravings, drawings and copper plates of the master himself, the Rembrandt house Museum also has a number of paintings by Rembrandt's teacher, his students and contemporaries. In recent years, the Museum has increasingly focused its efforts on collecting graphic works by Rembrandt's predecessors and followers. Among the most important acquisitions are prints by the Leiden artists Jan Lievens and Johan van Vliet, who collaborated with Rembrandt.
However, the collection policy is not limited exclusively to artists who were directly influenced by Rembrandt. The Museum expanded the scope of the collection to include later European followers of the master, including many German and Austrian artists of the XVIII century. The collection currently includes engravings by Christian Wilhelm Dietrich, Georg Friedrich Schmidt, and others. Finally, the Museum has a special exhibition dedicated to copies of Rembrandt's works, and many reproductions of his drawings and paintings.
Currently, the Rembrandt house Museum attracts a huge number of visitors with its permanent exhibition of the artist's prints and wonderful exhibitions. The growing number of visitors made it necessary to expand the Museum. Public spaces and exhibition halls were moved to the new wing, making it possible to restore the Rembrandt house. Fortunately, the property inventory of 1656 provides us with a detailed description of the interior during Rembrandt's time. The artist's drawings also reveal the nature of the premises. Specialists took up the production of detailed sketches to ensure the historical authenticity of the restoration. At the moment, the Rembrandt house is working on restoring the rooms and attempts are being made to reproduce the situation in the time of Rembrandt as accurately as possible.