Rothschilds to sell Rembrandt to Dutch State for €175m; Money better spent elsewhere, some say
The Rothschild family has agreed to sell Rembrandt's The Standard Bearer to the Dutch State. The family will sell the painting for an amount of 175 million euros. The Dutch State will pay 150 million euros of that amount. Some Netherlands residents think the government could better use that money elsewhere.
The rest of the amount for the painting will be covered by the Rembrandt Association (15 million euros) and the Rijksmuseum (10 million euros). The Senate and lower house of Dutch parliament still have to approve the purchase of the work. If they agree, the purchase is final. The painting will eventually hang in the Rijksmuseum.
On Wednesday, Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits said that he is not yet reassured that the Netherlands would actually purchase the painting due to possible hijackers on the coast. "First see, then believe," he said. "I'm hopeful. There is good cooperation with France, but I'm waiting for everything to be final."
The Rothschild family wanted to sell the work in 2019, but because the French State labeled it a "national treasure," it had 30 months to buy it itself. Now that France is waiving that right, the Netherlands can buy the work.
Once the purchase is completed, the painting will tour all 12 provinces. The Rijksmuseum will then hang the artwork in its Gallery of Honor. The Standard Bearer will remain "forever Dutch public property," wrote caretaker Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (Culture) on Twitter.
SP parliamentarian Peter Kwint tweeted on Wednesday that the canvas is "a beautiful piece of cultural history," but he also wants at least 150 million euros to support struggling artists. He also wants every Dutch person to be able to admire the painting at least once for free. GroenLinks MP Lisa Westerveld also wants the same amount to go to creative makers.
A large part of Netherlands residents think that the 150 million euros the Dutch State wants to use for The Standard Bearer could be better spent, Hart van Nederland reports after surveying over 2,800 members of its opinion panel. Most (58 percent) would prefer to see the millions go to healthcare.
Some suggested that the money be used to compensate people struggling to make ends meet due to the high inflation or to use it to compensate people who were financially affected by the coronavirus measures. Improving education and support for the cultural sector were also mentioned, but less often, according to Hart van Nederland.
Reporting by ANP