Fake Rembrandts are real, says Danish gallery

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The Independent Online

Copenhagen's National Gallery has revealed that two of its paintings previously believed to be fake Rembrandts were in fact genuine works by the Dutch master.

Art experts re-evaluated 10 canvases bearing Rembrandt's signature which had been kept in storage facilities for years because they were believed to be copies made by his students.

The five experts concluded that two of the paintings were by Rembrandt himself, the museum director Allis Helleland said.

"It is a delightful day for the National Gallery," she said yesterday. "We are happy today because we have solved a mystery."

Using state-of-the-art technology, the experts established that the paintings - The Crusader, from between 1659 and 1691, and Old Man in Profile, from about 1630 - were painted by the master.

The pictures were removed from display in 1946 and 1982, respectively, after the paint strokes were deemed too coarse to be by Rembrandt and were attributed to unknown painters in his studio.

The Crusader is a sketch on canvas for the painting The Knight with the Falcon that now hangs at the Goteborg Museum of Art in Sweden. The smaller Old Man in Profile is a practice piece on oak wood.

The works were re-evaluated ahead of the gallery's exhibition Rembrandt? The Master and His Workshop, which opens on 4 February, to mark the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt's birth.

Ms Helleland said no price tags could be given for the two Rembrandts because under Danish law the paintings belonging to state-financed museum cannot be put up for sale. She declined to say what the insurance value was. The only other known Rembrandt in Denmark, Portrait of a Lady, hangs in a small museum north of Copenhagen, from where it was stolen in January 1999. It was recovered unharmed in August of the same year.