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Rembrandt at the Condé Museum

This exhibition allows visitors to discover 21 original etchings by Rembrandt, some by his students, and drawings attributed to Rembrandt or his entourage. Rembrandt’s engravings, belonging to the large collection of Dutch engravings amassed by the Duc d’Aumale, have never been exhibited to the public.

The graphic arts collection at Chantilly, one of the richest in France, was established by Henri d’Orléans, Duc d’Aumale (1822-1897), son of King Louis-Philippe. The former bequeathed his collection to the Institut de France in 1884, along with the Château de Chantilly and its collections of paintings, precious books and art objects. These collections form the heart of the Musée Condé. Respecting the wishes of the donor, they cannot be lent outside of Chantilly.

A lover of 17th-century Nordic engravings, in the second half of the 19th century the Duc d’Aumale acquired a number of Rembrandt’s soft-ground etchings. He selected prints of the highest quality: Christ Healing the Sick, also known as The Hundred Guilder Print (2nd print on Japanese paper) bears discreet annotations from the hand of the great specialist, Robert-Dumesnil (1778-1864): "‘I do not know a more beautiful print". It was estimated at 124 pounds in the inventory handwritten by the Duc d’Aumale; 120 pounds in the inventory of burgher and Mayor of Amsterdam, Jan Six. The Landscape with Three Trees by the same Rembrandt is deemed "the most beautiful print ever known"; it was acquired in London at the art dealer Colnaghi’s on 24 January 1859 as "proof of the greatest beauty on paper". The prints bear the stamp of some of the greatest collectors, including Pierre Mariette in the 17th century.

According to the current Dutch specialist of Rembrandt’s engraved work, Dr Jaco Rutgers, this is possibly Rembrandt’s finest set of engravings preserved in France, after the four large Parisian collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Edmond de Rothschild Collection at the Musée du Louvre, the Dutuit Collection at the Petit Palais, and the Custodia Foundation. The Duc d’Aumale’s Collection features several scenes of beggars and paupers, landscapes, portraits (including Rembrandt’s mother), and some religious scenes. The last room displays several drawings from the Musée Condé, attributed to Rembrandt or his entourage.

Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Baroque, Etching

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