Missing Amsterdam Rembrandt Found in New York
Jul. 20, 1989
NEW YORK (AP) _ A Rembrandt drawing stolen 10 years ago from a Dutch museum is on its way back to Amsterdam today after being identified by an art expert at Christie's auction house.
The unsigned artwork came to the auction house from a European dealer, Christie's spokeswoman Starr Collins said Wednesday. The drawing was consigned to the dealer by a client who bought it for an undisclosed sum several years ago as a ''good anonymous drawing,'' she said.
The auction house routinely tries to attribute all the unsigned works it receives for auction. Beverly Jacoby, who heads Christie's Old Masters department, got this one on June 16.
''I knew right away it had a very good shot at being a Rembrandt,'' she said. ''I felt the drawing on stylistic grounds was very Rembrandtesque and also very high quality.''
Research quickly confirmed her hunch.
''After my initial elation that it was a Rembrandt, I read through the catalog entry, to the bottom line, where it said, 'Current ownership, Amsterdam Rembrandt House.' That sent alarm bells ringing and I called our counsel before I did anything else,'' said Jacoby.
''We contacted them to inquire and they informed us the drawing was stolen 10 years ago. I think they were very surprised and very pleased.''
The Rembrandt, removed from its original frame, was mounted on two pieces of glass with tape around the edges.
The 3-by-5 inch, double-sided drawing is in pen and ink on handmade paper. One side depicts a child, believed to be Rembrandt's son, Rombartus; the other a sleeping woman, thought to be his wife, Saskia.
''A drawing of such personal and biographical interest has added appeal'' and could have fetched more than $100,000 at auction, said Jacoby.
The drawing, which was stolen in May 1979, has been handed over to U.S. Customs and is on its way to the Amsterdam museum, said Ms. Collins.