Rembrandt is cast not only as a master printmaker but as a canny market manipulator in the Denver Art Museum’s latest show, Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker. “Rembrandt intentionally made rarities for his admiring collectors, who sought out rare states,” says the co-curator Timothy Standring, who organised the show with Jaco Rutgers, co-editor of the catalogue raisonné of Rembrandt’s etchings, completed in 2014. The scholarship behind the exhibition stems largely from that project.
The Dutch Old Master is already known as a more innovative printmaker than his contemporaries, frequently experimenting with different inks and papers. In creating his etchings, he refined his copper- plate designs in small steps, known as “states”. Rembrandt made lots of them—some seemingly unnecessary, or at least not aligned with the common practice among artists of using these early versions as a “status report” on the composition. Read more