A new Rembrandt self-portrait?

December 20 2022

Image of A new Rembrandt self-portrait?

Picture: Bas Czerwinski/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

The well-known Rembrandt scholar Gary Schwartz has announced news of a previously unacknowledged Rembrandt self-portrait. Well, I say unacknowledged, but I mean once acknowledged andthen downgraded - like so many Rembrandts, it was believed to be a Rembrandt until relatively recently. In 1969 Horst Gerson first doubted it, and then so too did the Rembrandt Research Project. From Codart:

A long-lost self-portrait of Rembrandt has been rediscovered by Gary Schwartz. The new discovery is published in his latest book Rembrandt in a Red Beret – The Vanishings and Reappearances of a Self-portrait.

The painting has not been seen in the Netherlands for nearly 125 years and has not been on public display since 1967. It is currently being presented in Escher in The Palace, the city palace in The Hague where the self-portrait was housed from 1850 to 1894.

For his research, CODART founder and Rembrandt specialist Gary Schwartz drew on numerous unpublished documents in the Dutch Royal House Archive, the archives of the American and German governments, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, German courts, as well as private correspondence between Hereditary Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and the German-American Rembrandt specialist Jakob Rosenberg. Schwartz’s new publication reconstructs the adventures of this significant work.


It was taken for granted that the painting was a genuine Rembrandt until 1969, when the German-Dutch art historian Horst Gerson suggested that it might be by or in imitation of Ferdinand Bol. Although Gary Schwartz maintains that no Bol expert has ever entertained this idea, the Rembrandt Research Project did actually take it seriously. Gary Schwartz: “Doubts about who produced the painting were fueled by the damage sustained by the self-portrait after it was stolen in Weimar. Incompetent overpainting misled people as to the work’s quality. Comprehensive new technological research work carried out by the renowned Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft in Zürich has revealed that only the face is work by the original painter. And anyone looking at that face will struggle to regard it as anything other than a self-portrait by the master himself”. In his new publication, Gary Schwartz argues that the work deserves to be acknowledged as by the master himself. He interrogates and refutes objections to accepting the painting for what it appears to be, a Rembrandt self-portrait.

More here on Artnet. You can see a decent photo of it here. Gary's website and always entertaining blog is here.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.