Paris Museums Big and Small


The Louvre Museum holds approximately 35,000 works of art. The Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester,New York has a much smaller collection. That’s why I was surprised during a recent visit to the Memorial Art Gallery that they do have fourteen Rembrandts including Portrait of a Young Man.
What’s amazing, is that when I checked out the Louvre’s number of Rembrandts, there were fifteen paintings listed on the Atlas inventory. Fifteen out of 35,000 – it just goes to share how rare and precious a Rembrandt can be.
I’m not even sure how many people have taken the time to visit the Rembrandt at the Memorial Art Gallery, but it’s one of my favorite paintings. Partly because of some local lore it’s acquired since its sejour in Rochester.
It used to hang in the George Eastman House as part of George Eastman’s private collection which was bequeathed to the University of Rochester. The painting remained hanging in the George Eastman House Museum of Photography until the 1970s. There were no security devices attached to this painting, because the wife of the then director decided that the electrical cords hanging from the back of the painting and dangling along the wall did not look very ‘aesthetic’.
The painting was stolen, but the wondrous part is that the painting was recovered thanks to a phoned in tip as to where the painting might have gone – it had headed north toward Canada. The recovery of this painting was worthy of good detective story which involved the FBI and using decoy cars while the rest of the pursuers traveled by plane. The painting was recovered unscathed and from that point it was decided that perhaps the Memorial Art Gallery might be the more appropriate locale for this precious painting. However, I still miss seeing the Portrait of a Young Man in Eastman House’s ‘South Room’ with its piano and crystal chandeliers. Paintings always seem happier in living rooms. I’d be willing to be that the majority of the people walking through the Memorial Art Gallery never make it up to the Rembrandt on the second floor. But it’s definitely worth a visit.
The Louvre celebrated Rembrandt with an exhibition of his drawings earlier this year, but the majority of the drawings posted in the Atlas that belong to the Louvre collection are from the Rembrandt school, not by the master himself.
Has anyone guessed the quote yet from my last entry re: bones and stones? The Memorial Art Gallery site may provide a clue.

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