Now on view

Open to the public from 7 June 2019

Inspired by Rembrandt
100 Years of Collecting by The Rembrandt House Museum
7 June – 1 September 2019

Rembrandt has always fascinated us—not just in this Rembrandt Year, 350 years after his death, but down through the centuries. Rembrandt’s etchings have motivated artists in all kinds of ways, and Inspired by Rembrandt explores his impact on their art. This time The Rembrandt House Museum is dipping into its own collection, for the museum is not just his former home and workshop. For more than a hundred years it has also been collecting art on paper—the collection now contains more than 4,000 prints. And not just Rembrandts, but art by his followers—from his own time and contemporary artists.

In eight stimulating themes—‘heads, ‘nature’, ‘life’, ‘himself’, ‘emptiness’, ‘black’, ‘the line’ and ‘raw’—Rembrandt’s etchings introduce work by such artists as Pablo Picasso, Horst Janssen, Charles Donker, Aat Veldhoen, Marlene Dumas and Glenn Brown. The exhibition, with its exciting modern design, runs from 7 June to 1 September 2019 in The Rembrandt House Museum.

Left: Glenn Brown, Half-Life (after Rembrandt) 2, The Rembrandt House Museum | Right: Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Three Heads of Women, 1934, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam


Sometimes artists borrow subjects from Rembrandt’s work, like his ‘tronies’—heads of a character or type, like a happy soldier or an unknown Oriental. Most artists, though, appear to have been interested primarily in the typical artistic questions that occupied Rembrandt: expressive line, rendering shadow, the search for a deep black and, of course, the uncompromising depiction of reality, including things that are still taboo, like contorted faces, old bodies, deep wrinkles and people who urinate in public.

Left: Marlene Dumas, Woman Urinating, 1996, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam | Right: Charles Donker, Hawthorn Bushes in the Snow in Groningen, c. 1985, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam

It is fantastic to be able to show some of the beautiful things we have in this exhibition. My personal favourite is the etching Aat Velthoen made of Mrs Vlek, the wife of the greengrocer in the Bloemgracht in Amsterdam, who posed naked for her next-door neighbour. Her pose is completely natural: waiting patiently until the artist has finished—there is something disarming about it. And there is a lot more, like the snowy landscape by Charles Donker who created an enormous sense of space with the large blank areas. Or the woman urinating by Marlene Dumas. Rembrandt had already etched this subject, but Dumas makes it clear that this subject is still not entirely ‘taboo free’.

– Epco Runia, Head of Collections, The Rembrandt House Museum

Right: Rembrandt, Nude Woman Seated on a Mound, c. 1631, etching, state II (2), 177 x 160 mm., The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam. | Left: Aat Veldhoen, Mrs Vlek, 1964, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam


The exhibition is also the debut for Ferdinand Bol’s 1643 etching of The Holy Family in a Living Room, which the museum purchased at TEFAF 2019. Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) was apprenticed to Rembrandt between 1636 and 1640. He was the only one of Rembrandt’s pupils who went on to make a great many etchings as well as paintings. He often modelled his compositions on his former teacher’s, seemingly always trying to measure up to him. In this etching darkness predominates: two-thirds of the etching is almost all-absorbing black. But even in this dark space many more details emerge if you look for a little longer: a domestic interior with a box bed, a cradle and a cat with a wary eye on what is happening. Bol has proved to be just as accomplished as his former teacher.

Inspired by Rembrandt: 100 Years of Collecting by The Rembrandt House Museum runs from 7 June to 1 September 2019 in The Rembrandt House Museum.


Detail of Ferdinand Bol, The Holy Family in a Living Room, 1643, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam.


Rembrandt and the Golden Age 2019

As part of the Netherlands’ theme year, Rembrandt and the Golden Age 2019, special activities and exhibitions will be taking place all over the country, with Rembrandt and his time at their heart.


In 2019 NBTC Holland Marketing, Fries Museum, the Mauritshuis, The Rembrandt House Museum, the Rijksmuseum, Museum De Lakenhal, the Jewish Cultural Quarter, the Amsterdam City Archives, Museum Prinsenhof Delft, the Scheepvaartmuseum and the Amsterdam Museum will work together with cities such as Amsterdam, Delft, Dordrecht, Enkhuizen, Haarlem, Hoorn, Leiden and Middelburg.


Note for the press: visit our press page and/or Rembrandt Year page for more information.