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The marriage of Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit they were a marriage of the commercial elite of the Dutch Golden Age. The name of the couple is not well known to the general public, but in 1634 Rembrandt immortalized them in two of his most famous portraits. They posed to demonstrate their economic might and paid 500 florins to Rembrandt.
From 1877, the portraits were in the hands of the Rothschild bankers. The Dutch government and the Rijksmuseum have decided to buy them for a value of 160 million euros. This operation is controversial, the price of the paintings is a large outlay for a time of crisis.
The purchase was made public when the Dutch State budget was presented, which shows a deficit of 2.9%, still below the 3% required by the EU. The Dutch head of Culture, Jet Bussemaker, has confirmed that that amount will be paid and the contract was signed last week. The government will contribute 80 million euros and the Rijksmuseum will provide the rest.
“We are delighted that the government has committed to returning these masterpieces. Given the price, the museum is already in contact with private collectors. The Rembrandt Association has also promised to collaborate, ”the spokesmen assured.
"If we do not acquire them now, we run the risk of being taken away by an oil sheikh and they will disappear from Europe forever," said the minister, who has promised that the paintings will be displayed throughout the country.
The portrait of Soolmans and Coppit is one of Rembrandt's best known and they show a successful couple, dressed in French fashion, with pearls, diamonds, silk and lace, the paintings were their calling card.
They were rich and a new ruling class. In 1789, the portraits were in Pieter van Winter's house, wealthy businessman who sold pigments. He bought a building in Keizerschacht (Amsterdam) and wanted to fill it with quality works.
When van Winter died, his daughters shared the inheritance. Lucrecia became part of the Six family, owners of an important artistic collection today. Anna Luisa, kept the portraits of Soolmans and Coppit, but their descendants sold them to the Rothschilds for 1.5 million florins in 1877.