Rembrandt and his Contemporaries presents 35 works from a unique private collection in New York: The Leiden Collection. It comprises renowned works by artists including Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), a painter who embraced the principle that, to be a great artist, it was necessary to produce history paintings. The pictures tell mythological, biblical and allegorical tales and are of exceptional quality.
The Leiden collection was founded in 2003 by American collectors Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and his wife Daphne Recanati Kaplan, the collection includes approximately 250 paintings and drawings and represents one of the largest and most important collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings in private ownership. Named after Rembrandt’s hometown, in honor of the master’s transcendence, the collection focuses on the works of Rembrandt and his followers, highlighting the personalities and themes that shaped the 17th century over five generations.
The Leiden Collection is also notable for the numerous works by artists who were intimately connected to Rembrandt at various stages of his career—among them Pieter Lastman, under whom he studied in Amsterdam, and Jan Lievens, his early colleague in Leiden. The paintings by Lievens in the Collection, such as his stunning Self-Portrait (ca. 1629-30) and Boy in a Cape and Turban (ca. 1631), are renowned masterpieces. Rembrandt’s importance as a teacher cannot be overstated and this particular aspect of his artistic legacy is well reflected in the Collection. It includes works by the artist’s first known pupils in Leiden, Gerrit Dou and Isaac de Jouderville as well as those he taught and mentored in Amsterdam—among others, Ferdinand Bol, Govaert Flinck, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Samuel van Hoogstraten, Nicolaes Maes, and his last pupil, Arent de Gelder. A singular highlight of this group is Carel Fabritius’s Hagar and the Angel (ca. 1645), the only one of the thirteen known paintings by this rarest of masters to remain in private hands.