A painting recently attributed to Rembrandt is gearing up to be shown for the first time. The painting, titled Let the Little Children Come to Me (1627–28), was painted when the Dutch master was in his early 20s. It was discovered last year by Dutch art dealer Jan Six and has since been formally attributed to Rembrandt. The painting will be shown at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in an exhibition dedicated to the artist’s early work. This was the second of two works by Rembrandt that Jan Six discovered in 2018; a remarkable feat considering the last such discovery was over 40 years ago.
Six found the work at a German auction, where it was simply attributed to the “Netherlandish School” and held a pre-sale estimate of €15,000 to €18,000 ($21,000–25,000). The dealer noticed that a figure in the top right of the composition was clearly a portrait of Rembrandt; he reasoned that, because the young artist was not yet famous when the work was painted, the only logical answer was that it was painted by Rembrandt himself and that the figure was in fact a self-portrait. Six competed in a bidding war for the piece, ultimately winning it for €1.5 million ($2.1 million)—100 times its low estimate.
The Ashmolean Museum show, titled “Young Rembrandt,” will focus on the artist’s output between the years 1624 and 1634. It will boast 34 paintings by Rembrandt, 10 paintings by his contemporaries, and roughly 90 drawings and prints. It opens on February 27, 2020, and continues through June 7, 2020.