The Dutch Senate has approved the purchase of Rembrandt’s painting “Standard Bearer”. The state has allocated 150 million euros to this. The Rembrandt Society and the Rijksmuseum will pay the remaining $ 25 million. Senate approval was the final hurdle to purchase. According to the new Secretary of State Gunay Uslu (Culture), the entire process will be completed within four weeks, after which the Netherlands will officially own the work.
This purchase showed lukewarm enthusiasm in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Various parties complained about the timing of the purchase. Many creators in the cultural sector, who often work as freelancers, struggle with coronavirus protection. The fact that the Cabinet currently allocates € 150 million for a single task is a concern for these parties. Left-wing opponents in particular want the Cabinet to help current artists better. VVD found a debate about the position of self-employed people in the cultural sector as “very good and necessary,” but said there were no conditions to support the purchase.
Uslu understands that sales feel “unpleasant” during a pandemic. However, according to the Secretary of State, the fact that the work is on the market offers an opportunity that will never happen again. Previously working as an art historian, Usul pointed out the “unique style” of his work, which she believes to be the prelude to Rembrandt’s most famous masterpiece, The Watchman. “It’s a turning point in his career.”
The Rothschilds put the canvas on sale in 2018, but wanted the first claim of the work because the French government considered the flag bearer a “national treasure.” There is already an agreement between the Cabinet and the family about the purchase.
The flag bearer was not the first to buy art in the Dutch state. In 1998, the painter Piet Mondrian purchased Victory Boogie Woogie for 80 million guilders. In 2014, the government and France bought two Rembrandt paintings together. Wedding portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit. Both countries paid 80 million euros. The canvas can only be hung at the Louvre Museum or the Rijksmuseum.