The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has bought 18th-century masterpiece ‘A Dutch girl at breakfast’ for almost €5.2 million.
It announced on Wednesday that the British government has approved an export licence for the painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard, bought at auction in London from a private collection where it had been held for more than two centuries.
Taco Dibbits, general director of the Rijksmuseum, said it had the same qualities as one of the most famous Dutch paintings in its collection. ‘A Dutch girl at breakfast radiates the same atmosphere of peace and simplicity as Vermeer’s Milkmaid,’ he said in a press release. ‘In this sensitive representation, the painter allows us to get very close to his subject. As the girl carefully opens the tap of the coffee-pot, she won’t allow herself to be disturbed by the millions of visitors who will come to see her.’
The work was purchased with the help of sponsors including private donors, the BankGiro Loterij, Rembrandt Association, Mondriaan Fund, VSBfonds and Rijksmuseum funds – and at a size of just 47cm by 39cm, cost more than €2,800 per square centimetre.
Liotard, who was part Swiss and part French, lived and worked as a portraitist in Vienna, Paris and London, and eventually moved to the Netherlands in 1755, where he settled. This work was bought by the painter’s main British collector, the 2nd Earl of Bessborough, and has remained in the family until now.