Art And Culture

France Offers $90m for Rembrandt

France Offers $90m for Rembrandt France Offers $90m for Rembrandt

France is willing to pay $90 million to acquire one of two Rembrandt paintings being sold by the Rothschild family for the Louvre museum, Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said Thursday.

She said the offer had been submitted to the wealthy banking family, which has owned the two rarely seen portraits by the Dutch master since the 19th century.

Pellerin said the offer had been submitted and would be “exceptionally financed by the Bank of France.”

The two full-length portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit as a young couple, painted shortly before their wedding in 1634, have rarely been seen in public. The portraits are believed to be in the collection of Eric de Rothschild.

The Netherlands is reportedly hoping to buy the second painting.

Pellerin and her Dutch counterpart, Jet Bussemaker, wrote to the Rothschilds in July, proposing that the Louvre and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam each buy one of the paintings.

On Monday, the Netherlands said it was hoping to buy both artworks, with the government footing half the $180 million bill while the Rijksmuseum would raise the rest.

However, the joint acquisition seemed back on the table in what Pellerin described as “an innovative solution that would strengthen the cultural cooperation between France and the Netherlands”.

She said the two artworks would alternate between the museums.

“It is of utmost importance to us that the paintings, which are now in private hands, should come under public ownership so that they are accessible to the public and remain in Europe,” Bussemaker told Dutch radio on Monday.

“Art belongs to us all collectively,” she said, adding that it would be “highly undesirable” if the paintings were sold “to some rich oil nation”.

The artnet website said they have only been publicly viewed once in the past 150 years.