Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt’s Etchings

February 6 to May 13, 2018

Treasured for their innovation and perceptive portrayal of the human psyche, Rembrandt’s etchings in college and university art collections in the United States have long inspired research, technical investigation, and multidisciplinary teaching approaches. This exhibition highlights 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 such technical and scientific approaches 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 a Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Vassar, Syracuse, Yale, the University of Kansas, the Morgan Library & Museum, and private collections.

The exhibition is curated jointly by Andaleeb Badiee Banta, Oberlin’s curator of European and American art, and Andrew C. Weislogel, 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 Oberlin College’s secret guardianship of the Morgan Library & Museum’s collection of Rembrandt etchings during World War II, and an introduction to Cornell University‚Äôs Watermark Identification in Rembrandt Etchings (WIRE) project.

WIRE is dedicated to digitally facilitating access to Rembrandt watermark scholarship. Available for $30, interested persons may purchase the catalogue by sending email to or calling 440-775-8665.

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.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
St. Francis Beneath a Tree Praying (1657)
R.T. Miller Jr. Fund, 1952.31