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THE
R
EMBRANDT
R
ESEARCH COMMITTEE
Pioneers in Digital Research and Attribution

THE REMBRANDT VAN RIJN ABRIDGED BIOGRAPHY
FINANCIAL RUIN, CHAPTER IX

"...history does not connect Rembrandt in any way with moderation when it comes to financial matters." It should be remembered that even though Rembrandt was financially successful as an artist, teacher and scholar, he was a poor businessman. Paying pupils flocked to his atelier. It is documented that he worked with well over forty different students of many skill levels between the years of 1628 – 1661. Unfortunately, few, if any, of these students remained with him for more than a period of months or did they provide to him a solid source of income. There was always much work for his students to achieve, as Rembrandt always received many commissions. Still, his patrons were fewer in the 1650s than in the 1630s.
    Rembrandt was never like the starving Impressionist artists of the late eighteen and early nineteen hundreds. Rembrandt was never without income. In fact, he regularly maintained a healthy income that should have allowed a man of even moderately expensive tastes to avoid disaster, but history does not connect Rembrandt in any way with moderation when it comes to financial matters.
    In fact, Rembrandt had a penchant for ostentatious living. He had an insatiable need to amass a most important personal art collection, and he maintained an arrogant disregard for his creditors. He was simply a very poor manager of his affairs. This poor management resulted in his being forced to declare bankruptcy in 1656.
    An inventory of a large portion of his collection of art and antiquities was taken on 25 July 1656 in preparation for the auction that was held to assist with the payment of his debts. It is recorded that prior to this inventory, Rembrandt placed some of his most precious possessions with Hendrickje for safe keeping. This inventory records great breadth in his art collection that was composed of ancient sculpture, Flemish and Italian Renaissance paintings, Far Eastern art, contemporary Dutch works, weapons and armour. Rembrandt was so proud of his collection that he co-operated fully with the authorities and assisted them in taking the inventory. There were over 360 lots, more than enough outstanding representations to fill a small museum. Unfortunately, the results of the auction, including the sale of the large home that he had purchased with Saskia and that he so loved, were disappointing.
    With the sale of the his fine home, Rembrandt was forced to move with Titus, Hendrickje and little Cornelia to a modest rental outside of the city of Amsterdam. Here the rent was inexpensive, and Rembrandt was able to withdraw from the society with which he was so enchanted. Some of his friends, including Jan Six, disappeared from his life after his disgraceful bankruptcy, but others, including several of his students, remained supportive.
    Rembrandt was unable to ever recover his fortune, and through the years his family and friends assisted him in several manipulations to protect his most prized possessions, and even Rembrandt himself, from his creditors. In the year 1658, when Titus was seventeen, Titus and Hendrickje began an independent art dealing business, and in the year 1660 they actually employed Rembrandt to protect him from the threats of the many creditors who were still awaiting payment of his debts. Then in 1663 disaster again struck Rembrandt. Titus died, and Rembrandt was engulfed with agony and heartbreak.
    The importance of Hendrickje to Rembrandt at this time is incalculable. She protected him and maintained a home where he was able to work and teach undisturbed. She served him as a model on repeated occasions.
 
"...placed some of his most precious possessions with Hendrickje for safe keeping."
"...his family and friends assisted him in several manipu- lations to protect his most prized possessions."

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