A couple painted by Rembrandt in 1634 will stay united thanks to a historic deal between France and the Netherlands. The record joint acquisition is an innovative concept for national museums.
The deal was sealed on Monday (01.02.2016) by French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin and her Dutch colleague, Jet Bussemaker. The two large portraits by the Dutch master were bought from the influential Rothschild family in France for the sum of 160 million euros ($174 million).
The two countries splashed out 80 million euros each - an unseen sum for public art acquisitions.
The rare paintings feature a wealthy Dutch couple, Marten Soolmans and his future wife Oopjen Coppit, on the eve of their marriage.
It took several years for the agreement to be reached, but this first joint acquisition will allow the pair to stay united, as the portraits will alternately be shown together at the world famous Louvre museum in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Through a private sale, the rare paintings could have ended up separated.
Over the past 150 years, these valuable portraits were only shown once publicly, during an exhibition organized in 1956. The French culture minister said in a statement that the two works will be unveiled at the Louvre "in the coming weeks," before being sent off to the Netherlands for restoration.
eg/kbm (AFP, dpa)