Dutch efforts to buy two Rembrandt portraits from the wealthy Rothschild family in France received a knock on Thursday when it emerged the French state has offered €80m for one of the two pictures.
The Dutch government and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum are attempting to raise €160m to buy both pictures and the Dutch culture ministry has already pledged €80m. The Rijksmuseum said earlier this week it is in talks with wealthy backers to try to raise the other €80m.
According to broadcaster Nos, the French culture ministry says the purchase has been made possible by the ‘exceptional patronage’ of the French central bank. The picture, if the sale goes through, will hang in the Louvre in Paris.
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.
Earlier this month, the director of the Louvre 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.
The French offer for one picture leaves the status of the Dutch bid unclear. According to French paper Les Echoes, the way is now open for the Dutch government to buy the other portrait and the two would be exhibited together alternatively in both museums.
Les Echos says the Louvre and the Rothschilds have been trying to work out a deal to buy the pictures since 2013.
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