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Exhibition draws on 30 years of scholarship and unparalleled international loans to illuminate Rembrandt's working practice and bring his studio to life

Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference

December 8, 2009 - February 28, 2010

January 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum announces an unprecedented exhibition distilling over 30 years of scholarly research on the working practice of the great Dutch artist Rembrandt and the teaching process he employed in his studio.  Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference will be on view exclusively at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Center from December 8, 2009–February 28, 2010

“Only a handful of artists have become so iconic that we refer to them by one name, and few have been hailed with more superlatives than Rembrandt,” says Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “I am pleased that the Getty Museum is organizing this remarkable exhibition that is based on decades of research by leading scholars—bringing to Los Angeles Rembrandt’s finest drawings from around the world.”

From the time of his early success in Leiden and Amsterdam, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) maintained one of the most active studios of the 17th century—with more than 50 artists in his employ during its nearly 40 years of operation. Drawing played a key role in the studio and Rembrandt taught his pupils to draw in his manner. With so many talented students working in close proximity to the master—drawing the same subject matter in exercises and sketching from the same nude figures—it’s not surprising that authorship sometimes became unclear.  Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference will give visitors a glimpse into Rembrandt’s studio through closely related works by the artist and his pupils that have been gathered from collections around the world.

Over the past three decades, a generation of international scholars has been steadily working to establish new, more systematic criteria for determining the authenticity of Rembrandt drawings and to define the styles of his pupils and followers. As a result of this far-reaching scholarship and methodical connoisseurship, the individual styles of many pupils have been more clearly identified and numerous works previously attributed to Rembrandt have been re-assigned to his students.

The exhibition will consist of a series of carefully chosen pairings of many of Rembrandt’s most famous drawings alongside comparable works by his pupils, including Govaert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Carel Fabritius, and Nicolaes Maes. This comparative presentation of drawings will not only help visitors distinguish the various styles through active looking, but, in some cases, they will feel as though they are witnessing the inner-workings of the studio.

More than 90 drawings are being generously lent to the Getty by 37 institutions, including the British Museum, London; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Musée du Louvre, Paris; the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin; the Sépmüvészeti Muzéum, Budapest; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Morgan Library, New York; and several private collections in Europe and America. The exhibition will also include six drawings from the Getty’s own collection.

Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference is organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and curated by Lee Hendrix, senior curator of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum and Peter Schatborn, emeritus head of the Rijksprentenkabinet of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, which will distill recent, voluminous scholarship into a concise, accessible, and visually stunning book. The catalogue is being prepared by an international team of experts—Dr. Holm Bevers, curator of Netherlandish Drawings of the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett and Dr. William Robinson, George and Maida Abrams Curator of Drawings, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, as well as Hendrix and Schatborn. Due to the importance of the loans and the light sensitivity of drawings, this landmark exhibition will take place only at the Getty.

Related Virtual Exhibition
Rembrandt in Southern California
A virtual exhibition of paintings by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669), Rembrandt in Southern California is a dedicated website comprised of 14 paintings that are on view in five Southern California museums.  The website is the product of a groundbreaking collaboration between the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Hammer Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles; the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena; and the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego, all working in concert. Unlike the limited duration of the average museum loan exhibition, this collective exhibition continues indefinitely, on view in the "greater museum of Southern California.”

Note to editors: Images available upon request.

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Rebecca Taylor
Getty Communications

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