The Business of Rembrandt
The Business of Rembrandt broadcast on Radio Eye, ABC Radio National
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of one of the world’s most beloved and respected Old Masters, Rembrandt van Rijn.
Around the world museums are mounting special exhibitions of the artist’s work, and nowhere are the celebrations more exuberant and expansive than the Netherlands, where Rembrandt is considered a national hero and an earner for the Dutch economy.
Rembrandt is big business. Paintings by Rembrandt, when they come on the market, rarely fetch less than $40 million, but it’s still something of an affront to our romance of the artist to realise that in his own time, Rembrandt was motivated more by the chance to make big money and live the high life than by noble pursuit of his muse. And in the end, Rembrandt’s greed got the better of him.
In ‘The Business With Rembrandt’, Albert Ehrnrooth talks with curators, dealers and gift-shop buyers in Australia and Holland to see just who’s making money out of Rembrandt today … and to find out how Rembrandt made and lost his own money 400 years earlier.