Department for Culture, Media and Sport
£35 million Rembrandt painting at risk of leaving the UK
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a painting by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet.
One of Rembrandt’s greatest late portraits is at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the asking price of £35 million.
In order to provide a last chance to save it for the nation, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a painting by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet.
The portrait is important, not only for the study of Rembrandt’s late career, but also of Dutch society. The subject of the portrait, Catrina Hooghsaet, was a wealthy Amsterdam Mennonite who, at the time of the painting, was married but separated from her husband, which reflects her strength of character and independence. She is accompanied not by her estranged husband, but by her pet parrot, who features in her will.
Rembrandt’s portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet has been in the UK for more than 250 years and is one of Rembrandt’s best-known paintings in the UK. It has been on loan and on public display at the National Museum of Wales, the National Trust’s Penrhyn Castle, North Wales (for which it was bought in 1860), and most recently at the Ashmolean Museum. The only comparable Rembrandt paintings in the UK, Jacob Trip and his wife Margareta de Geer (National Gallery) datable to about 1661, were executed in the Rembrandt’s ‘rough manner’ whereas the precision of Catrina Hooghsaet’s features recall a style that was present in his much earlier work.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:“This Rembrandt painting has been enjoyed by the UK public for more than 250 years and provides a fascinating glimpse into history, helping us to better understand how society and art have evolved over the centuries. It’s important that paintings, especially one as famous as this, are available for our students to learn from. I hope that the temporary export bar I have put in place will result in a UK buyer coming forward to buy the Rembrandt painting to save it for the nation.”
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey took the decision to defer granting an export licence for the Rembrandt painting following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by Arts Council England. The RCEWA made their recommendation on the Rembrandt painting on the grounds of its close association with our history and national life, its outstanding aesthetic importance and its outstanding significance for the study of Rembrandt’s art and in particular his late works.
RCEWA Member Aidan Weston-Lewis said:“This is an exceptional portrait of a fascinating sitter, about whom there is still much to be discovered. Its departure abroad would be particularly unfortunate in view of its long presence in the UK, notably in Wales, which currently has no publicly-owned painting by Rembrandt.”
The decision on the export licence application for the Rembrandt painting will be deferred for a period ending on 15 February 2016 inclusive. This period may be extended until 15 October 2016 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the painting is made at the recommended price of £35,000,000 (plus VAT of £660,000).
Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Ed Vaizey. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to a public institution wishing to acquire the item.*
*Please contact the RCEWA Secretariat on 0845 300 6200 for further information
An image of the Rembrandt painting can be downloaded here.
Latest News from
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Record number of city status winners announced to celebrate Platinum Jubilee20/05/2022 11:27:00
Eight new cities named as part of 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Celebrate your shortlisted 2025 UK City of Culture location18/05/2022 12:05:00
Show your support for the 4 shortlisted places before the winner is revealed
New funding to help spur more global success for UK’s independent film, TV and video games17/05/2022 11:20:00
UK Global Screen Fund to continue following successful pilot which supported more than 65 productions
UK-wide plans for public to celebrate Platinum Jubilee16/05/2022 15:10:00
Big screens in capital cities for public to watch Jubilee events
Increased mental health support for children and young people12/05/2022 12:27:00
£10 million to extend senior mental health lead training to reach more schools and colleges
Cultural venues to receive £128 million to improve access to arts and culture10/05/2022 15:10:00
Organisations are now being encouraged to submit expressions of interest to receive support
Government sets out plans for how tech regulator will tackle dominance of major firms09/05/2022 12:10:00
Small businesses will be protected from predatory practices and consumers will get more choice and control over their online experiences.
Tougher consumer protections against malicious apps04/05/2022 15:10:00
Tech industry asked for views on measures to make app market safer and more secure
UK – Japan Joint Announcement on Deepening Digital Collaboration04/05/2022 14:10:00
On 4th May 2022 the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Nadine Dorries, and Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan, Mr Yasushi Kaneko, reaffirmed their shared commitment to deepening UK-Japan collaboration on digital and data.