The Dutch government has agreed to put €80m towards the Rijksmuseum’s plans to buy two Rembrandt portraits for €160m, culture minister Jet Bussemaker told Nos radio on Monday.
The Rijksmuseum is now trying to raise the other €80m necessary to buy the works and ‘there is a good chance the deal will go ahead’, Bussemaker said.
‘It is now or never. If we don’t buy them, they will end up in the hands of one or another rich oil sheikh and the public will never see them again,’ she told the broadcaster.
The paintings are a pair of wedding portraits which show Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit and date from 1634. They were sold to the Rothschilds by Amsterdam’s Van Loon family in 1877. The Rothschilds have now put them up for sale for €160m.
The Rijksmuseum is now trying to raise the rest of the cash and has been speaking to private individuals about contributions, the Nos says.
Earlier this month, the director of the Louvre in Paris said he was working with the Rijksmuseum to try to buy the two portraits. The Rijksmuseum declined to comment on the claim at the time and it is unclear if the Louvre is still involved.
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