Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings

February 6–May 13, 2018

Stern Gallery West

Treasured for their technical innovation and perceptive portrayal of the human psyche, Rembrandt’s etchings in university and college art collections in the United States have long inspired curatorial research, technical investigation, and multidisciplinary teaching approaches. This exhibition examines the scope and the subtlety of Rembrandt as a printmaker who employed a wide range of subject matter, processes, and materials. Etchings by the 17th-century Dutch master are presented through the lenses of connoisseurship, scholarly and public reception, and the history of collection-building, as well as technical and scientific approaches, such as the analysis of watermarks in the paper on which the etchings were printed.

Organized in conjunction with Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art,
Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt’s Etchings includes stellar impressions of Rembrandt’s etchings on loan from Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Vassar, Syracuse, Yale, the University of Kansas, the Morgan Library & Museum, and private collections. The exhibition is curated jointly by Oberlin’s Curator of European and American Art Andaleeb Badiee Banta and Andrew C. Weislogel, the Seymour R. Askin, Jr. ’47 Curator of Earlier European and American Art at Cornell.

The accompanying catalogue presents new research on initiatives that examine the enduring status of Rembrandt as a printmaker and the multivalent nature of his works. It includes an overview of the history of Rembrandt prints in American academic collections, a documented account of the Allen Memorial Art Museum's secret guardianship of the Morgan Library & Museum’s collection of Rembrandt etchings during World War II, and an introduction to Cornell University’s Watermark Identification in Rembrandt Etchings (WIRE) project, which is dedicated to digitally facilitating access to Rembrandt watermark scholarship. Available for $30, the catalogue may be purchased by emailing to, or calling 440-775-8665.


Curator Tours
Sunday, February 25, at 3 p.m.
Friday, April 13, at noon
Andaleeb Badiee Banta, exhibition curator of Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt’s Etchings, gives free, 45-minute tours on these two dates.

AMAM in the AM
Friday, March 16, at 10:15 a.m.
Exhibition tour with Andaleeb Badiee Banta. This is part of an ongoing series of informal talks offered on the third Friday of the month, through May.

First Thursday Lecture
Thursday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m.
“Rembrandt: The Last Renaissance Artist” is the title of a guest lecture by Catherine Scallen, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Professor in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University. Rembrandt was a printmaker and painter of the 17th century, but his choice of subjects and thematic presentation allied him more with earlier Renaissance art. Scallen examines this retrospective side of Rembrandt’s art and offers possible motivations—centering on his personal ambition as an artist. The program will be followed by a reception; galleries remain open until 7:30 p.m.

At Oberlin, support for the exhibition has been provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc., as well as by Maryan and Chuck Ainsworth, Elaine A. Bridges, Andrew Butterfield and Claire Schiffman, Pamela and James Elesh, Sarah G. (Sally) Epstein and Donald Collins, Suzanne Hellmuth and Jock Reynolds, Brian and Mary Kennedy, Emily and T. K. McClintock, Donald Oresman, Betsy Pinover Schiff, Deborah and Andy Scott, Katherine Solender and Willie Katzin, Sietske and Herman Turndorf, Gloria Werner, the John H. and Marjorie Fox Wieland AMAM Support Fund, and the Friends of Art Fund.

Image: Self-Portrait Leaning on a Stone Sill, showing Basilisk watermark, 1639
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)
Etching, with touches of drypoint; retouched in black chalk
Collection of Yale University Art Gallery
Transmitted light photograph courtesy of Theresa Fairbanks-Harris