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An exciting new addition to the collection of the Allentown Art Museum (AAM) in Pennsylvania, Rembrandt van Rijn’s “Portrait of a Young Woman” (1632), had been in the museum all along. Donated to AAM in the 1970s, the exquisite oil on oak panel was formerly attributed to the studio of Rembrandt — meaning it was thought to be created by someone in the artist’s workshop, and not by Rembrandt himself. A recent restoration has revealed the work to be an original by the Dutch Old Master.
How did Rembrandt’s inimitable brushstrokes and mastery of light and shadow remain hidden from view? Ironically, past restorations are to blame. Over the centuries, conservators applied thick, dark varnish over the painting to create a sheen, sacrificing the clarity of the portrait, muting its colors, and concealing Rembrandt’s meticulous brushwork. Viewers had been looking at the painting “through a dirty windshield,” said Shan Kuang, an assistant conservator and research scholar at the Conservation Center of the New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, in a press release.
When it was first donated to the museum in 1961, the work hung as a Rembrandt original, but the Rembrandt Research Project contested the attribution in 1970, basing its research on then-limited x-ray technology. The painting was henceforth credited to the artist’s workshop.
During the two-year restoration process, undertaken at the Conservation Center and coordinated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Kuang removed layers of varnish and paint, cleaned the portrait, and used digital photography and electron microscopy to distinguish original materials from later alterations.
“The painting has this incredible glow to it now that it just didn’t have before,” said the museum’s vice president of curatorial affairs, Elaine Mehalakes, in an e-mail. “This single object in our collection has this incredibly rich and complicated history. There could be stories like that among other artworks. It’s very exciting.”
The painting, currently in the museum’s vault, will go back on public display in its Kress Gallery starting June 7, 2020.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…