Does France allow the export of two Rembrandt paintings?

18 March 2015

Two famous portraits by Rembrandt which have been hidden away in a private collection in France are going on sale according to US website Art Market Monitor.

The pair of full-length paintings are of the 21-year-old Maerten Soolmans and his 23-year-old wife Oopjen Coppit, the daughter of an Amsterdam nobleman. Rembrandt (1606-1669) painted them just before their wedding in 1634. The couple paid 500 guilders for both paintings.

The portraits were bought in 1877 by baron Gustave de Rothschild and were only shown to the public for a short period in 1956 in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

The President of the Louvre has chosen to allow the export of the two paintings. It is striking that the French state is letting the paintings go. Countries usually do everything possible to keep such famous works within their borders. But the French culture ministry and the director of the Louvre in Paris have confirmed they have no interest in the paintings. Earlier reports in the media that the Rothschild family has now put them on the market for €150m, has not been confirmed yet.

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