Amsterdam and Paris to Share Paintings

November 21, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. jointly / ˈdʒɔɪnt li / (adv.) – pertaining to an action that is shared
Example: The two museums jointly bought the painting.

2. ensue / ɛnˈsu / (v.) – to be the result of something
Example: A fight ensued because they couldn’t agree on a decision.

3. commission / kəˈmɪʃ ən / (v.) – to order someone to do a certain task
Example: The man was commissioned to paint a family portrait.

4. heir /ɛər/ (n.) – someone who is next in line to receive the property of someone
Example Gabriel is the only heir to his grandmother’s art collection.

5. controversy / ˈkɒn trəˌvɜr si / (n.) – an issue involving a group disagreeing about something
Example: The family has been dealing with that controversy for years.


Read the text below.
Two rare Rembrandt [REM-brant] paintings will be on display in Amsterdam and Paris.  

The Netherlands and France have agreed to jointly buy the paintings after a bidding war ensued between the two nations. Jet Bussemaker, a Dutch politician addressed the Dutch parliament in a letter, informing them that the Rijksmuseum [RAHYKS myoo-zee-uh m] in Amsterdam and the Louvre [LOO-vruh] in Paris will take turns in exhibiting the two paintings. 

Originally, the Dutch government pledged to pay €80 million, while Rijkmuseum pledged to cover the remaining half to purchase the €160 million paintings. However, the French government also expressed interest and proposed to buy one of the paintings. In the end, a deal was signed by the two nation’s leaders. They agreed that the two paintings should be admired together, so both museums will be taking turns in displaying them.

The paintings were commissioned by a young Dutch couple, Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coopit, for their wedding. They were created by Rembrandt in 1634 in Amsterdam. In both paintings, they are wearing black, which was considered as high fashion back then. Despite being separate paintings, they have always been treated as one.

Originally, the paintings were passed down to the couple's heirs and remained in the Netherlands, but they were later sold to French banker Gustave de Rothschild. Later on, his grandson Eric de Rothschild caused a controversy when he announced plans of selling the paintings for a minimum of €150 million. Both paintings have been under his family’s possession since 1877 and some critics believe he is betraying their reputation as patrons of the arts by selling the paintings for a huge amount.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with Amsterdam and France taking turns in exhibiting the two paintings? Why or why not?
·         Do you agree that both paintings should be exhibited together? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What is the disadvantage of having to share the painting with another museum?
·         Would you sell the paintings if you were Rothschild? Why or why not?

November 21, 2015