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21 mars 2024

Historic number of Rembrandts on view in Toronto

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo, 1658. Oil on canvas, 107.4 x 87.0 cm. Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2015 (58-008).

 

TORONTO.- On view now at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Painted Presence: Rembrandt and His Peers is a rare and remarkable assembly of 17th century Dutch paintings. Featuring 15 intensely observed still-life paintings, detailed interiors, and mesmerizing portraits on loan from The Bader Collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the exhibition is co-curated by Adam Harris Levine, AGO Associate Curator of European Art and Suzanne van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University.

At the centre of the exhibition are seven works by or attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) – the most ever seen together in Toronto in a public museum. The exhibition features two of his most imposing oil on canvas portraits – the AGO’s own Portrait of a Woman with a Lap Dog (c. 1665) and Agnes’s Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo, (1658) – alongside three smaller studies of heads, and two paintings attributed to the artist, Head of a Bearded Man: Study For Saint Matthew (1657) and A Scholar by Candlelight (c.1628-1629). Considered to be among the greatest of all 17th century portraitists, Rembrandt and his peers were celebrated in their time for making paintings that seemingly captured reality.

 

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Woman with a Lap Dog, c. 1665. Oil on canvas. Overall: 81.3 × 64.1 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Bequest of Frank P. Wood, 1955. Photo © AGO.54/30.

Rembrandt van Rijn (attributed to), Head of a Bearded Man: Study For Saint Matthew, 1657. Oil on panel, 24.5 x 19.7 cm. Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2019 (62-017.06).

Rembrandt van Rijn (attributed to), A Scholar by Candlelight, c.1628-1629. Oil on copper, 13.9 x 13.9 cm. Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Isabel Bader, 2019 (62-004.02).
 

Incredible records of what patrons and painters wanted seen and remembered, these exquisite paintings have much to tell us about the hopes and interests of 17th Dutch society – its fashions, its vanities, its trade and its views on aging,” says Adam Harris Levine, AGO Associate Curator of European Art. “It is so special to have so many remarkable paintings in one room and a pleasure to welcome these Bader masterpieces to Toronto. I am excited that visitors will have this opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Dutch painting.”

We are grateful to be able to share these very beloved paintings with Toronto’s audiences while we undergo construction for Agnes Reimagined,” says Suzanne van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art, Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “It is even more exciting to know that the works will join some of the AGO’s own favourites. Being able to compare between various works either fully accepted as done by Rembrandt, or attributed to him or other talented artists working in his vicinity will bring out the unique qualities that each work has to offer.”

As the head of a large studio in Amsterdam, Rembrandt trained numerous artists, many of whose work is so good it can be difficult to differentiate the pupil from the master. The exhibition makes clear the tricky and often subjective task of defining what, in fact, makes a Rembrandt. Variously attributed over the years to both Rembrandt and his pupil Carel Fabritius (1622-1654), the AGO’s Portrait of a Woman with a Handkerchief, c. 1644, may still someday be called a Rembrandt, but for the time being remains attributed to the Studio of Rembrandt. On the other hand, the touching Portrait of a Woman probably Hendrickje Stoffels c. 1653, once believed to be by Rembrandt, is now convincingly attributed to his student Jacobus Leveck (1634 – 1675).

 

Rembrandt Van Rijn & Carel Fabritius, Portrait of a Woman with a Handkerchief, c. 1644, oil on canvas. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of R.Y. Eaton, 1956 and Mrs. R.Y. Eaton, 1966. Photo © AGO. 65/59.

Jacobus Leveck (1634 – 1675), Portrait of a Woman probably Hendrickje Stoffels c. 1653. Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 54.0 cm, Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Isabel Bader, 2019 (62-017.07).
 

Painted Presence: Rembrandt and his Peers is on view at the AGO now through February of 2026. Admission is free for all Indigenous Peoples, AGO Members and Annual Passholders. Same day tickets can be booked in person and online. For more details on how to book your tickets or to become a Member or Annual Passholder, visit ago.ca.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at 7 p.m., co-curators Adam Harris Levine, AGO Associate Curator European Art and Suzanne van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, present a talk in Jackman Hall entitled “What Makes a Rembrandt?” AGO Members receive a discount. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit ago.ca/events/curators-talk-what-makes-rembrandt.

Painted Presence: Rembrandt and his Peers is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University.

 

Rembrandt Van Rijn, Head of a Man in a Turban (Study for a Rabbi), c. 1661. Oil on oak panel, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Ontario. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2007 (50-001).

Jan Lievens (1607– 1674), Profile Head of an Old Woman (“Rembrandt’s Mother”), c.1630. Oil on panel, 43.2 cm x 33.7 cm, Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2005 (48-001).

Judith Leyster. Self-Portrait, c.1630. Oil on canvas, Unframed: 74.6 × 65.1 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss, 1949.6.1. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Abraham Susenier (1620-1668), Vanitas Still Life with a Portrait of Rembrandt, a Sculpture, a Skull, Feathers, an Overturned Roemer and a Portfolio of Drawings, 1668, c. 1669-72, Oil on canvas, 60.3 cm x 74.3 cm.  Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2014 (57-001.32).

Arent de Gelder (1645-1727), The Artist’s Studio, c. 1710-1715. Oil on canvas, 48.9 x 57.8 cm. Collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2015 (58-010).

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