Getty Museum says Rembrandt self-portrait is cleared for export

The Rembrandt self-portrait that the Getty Museum recently purchased for an estimated $25.1 million has been cleared by British authorities for export and is expected to arrive in Los Angeles within one to two weeks, according to Timothy Potts, director of the museum.

In May, the Getty announced its purchase of “Rembrandt Laughing” from a dealer. The small-scale oil painting, which depicts the artist with a mirthful expression, is believed to have been created around 1628.

Soon after the announcement, British authorities put a freeze on the export license for the work. British law allows for the veto of foreign purchase of artwork if a British institution can at least match the purchase price and the work is deemed of significant cultural value.


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At the time, Potts said that the Getty “understands and respects the export process in the U.K. We look forward to a positive outcome and the opportunity to add this exceptional painting to our collection.”

The Getty said that “Rembrandt Laughing” will eventually go on display in its East Pavilion among four other Rembrandt paintings. “I’m sure this will become an icon of the Getty Museum collection,” said Potts.

A museum spokeswoman said she didn’t know when the painting would go on view.

In the past, the Getty has been unsuccessful at some of its attempts to purchase art from Britain. The museum’s 2002 bid of $46.6 million for Raphael’s “Madonna of the Pinks” failed to go through when the government stepped in to help with a rival bid. (The painting resides at London’s National Gallery.)

The museum’s recent $44.9-million purchase of J.M.W. Turner’s 1839 landscape, “Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino,” was successful when no viable bids materialized.


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