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Portrait of a Girl Complements the Artist's The Abduction of Europa

November 16, 2007

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center will put on view Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn’s Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak in its East Pavilion paintings galleries on Tuesday, November 20, 2007.  The work, on a long-term loan to the Museum from a New York private collection, will be the fifth Rembrandt on view at the Museum.  It is also the first time Portrait of a Girl has been publicly displayed since the early 1970s. 

The loaned work, which will be at the Museum through 2008, will be placed near the Getty’s The Abduction of EuropaPortrait of a Girl inspired the facial types of many of Rembrandt’s heroines in the early 1630s, including the princess and her attendant seen in profile in The Abduction of Europa.

The loan will also give rise to a special booklet being developed by the Getty’s Associate Curator of Paintings Anne Woollett that highlights Southern California public holdings of Rembrandt, second in number only to New York City and Washington D.C.

“We wanted to use the opportunity of this remarkable loan to apprise lovers of Rembrandt on where in Southern California they can find other works by the artist,” explains Woollett.  “When you consider both Los Angeles and San Diego, there are 13 paintings by Rembrandt on public view.  For such relatively young collecting institutions, that’s a major accomplishment.”

The booklet, which is expected to be completed by early 2008, will be available at the Getty, as well as at each of the institutions housing works by Rembrandt: the Norton Simon Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, and the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego.  It will also be available for download at

“This brochure will serve as a guide to seeing and experiencing Rembrandt in Southern California,” adds Woollett.

Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Girl was painted in 1632.  The sitter, an unknown woman, is richly dressed in the fanciful costume Rembrandt favored for biblical and mythological paintings.  He scratched in the thick, wet paint to create the pleats of the subject’s white shirt, and rendered gold embroidery on her black gown with almost an abstract series of daubs.  Light from the painting’s upper left creates atmosphere behind the sitter, and strongly illuminates one side of her rounded face, along with the strand of pearls in her hair and one of her large pearl earrings.

About The Abduction of Europa
Rembrandt van Rijn regarded history painting – the portrayal and interpretation of great stories of the past – as his most important activity.  During his early years in Amsterdam, he turned to classical mythology for subjects such as The Abduction of Europa, which derives from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  In it Jupiter, the king of the gods, has transformed himself into a beautiful white bull in order to seduce Europa, the princess of Tyre.  Beguiled, she climbs on the bull’s back and is spirited across the sea to the continent that will one day bear her name. 

Paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn Currently on View at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

An Old Man in Military Costume, circa 1630-31
Oil on panel
26 x 20 in.
J. Paul Getty Museum

The Abduction of Europa, 1632
Oil on panel
24½ x 30 5/16 in.
J. Paul Getty Museum

Portrait of a Young Woman Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak, 1632
Oil on panel
23¾ x 17¾ in.
Private Collection, New York

Daniel and Cyrus Before the Idol Bel, 1633
Oil on panel
9 ¼ x 11 7/8 in.
J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Bartholomew, 1661
Oil on canvas
34 1/8 x 29 ¾ in.
J. Paul Getty Museum

In addition to four paintings, the Getty Museum’s permanent collection contains ten drawings by Rembrandt, four of which will be on view in a major exhibition planned for December 2009.  This major loan exhibition will bring together many of Rembrandt’s greatest drawings from institutions across the United States and Europe.  The Getty is the only public institution in Los Angeles to own drawings by Rembrandt.

Of Related Interest

Considering Rembrandt
Friday, January 18, 2008, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center

Join Anne Woollett, associate curator, Department of Paintings, the J. Paul Getty Museum, for a discussion of Rembrandt's original approaches to portraiture and history painting, and the unique dialogue with the Getty's collection afforded by the special loan of Rembrandt's Portrait of a Young Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak (1632), not seen publicly for decades.  A guided gallery tour follows the lecture.  Course fee $15.  Open to 100 participants.

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Desiree Alcalde-Wayne
Getty Communications

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