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2021-07-doc6 Rembrandt’s Money (forthcoming)

The idea. Over three years ago I announced my intention to write about the legal and financial problems that the famous Dutch artist Rembrandt (1606-1669) encountered during his life. See https://bobwessels.nl/blog/2017-11-05-rembrandt/. Since the early 1980s I have written book, but this one promised to be very special, a legal-historic case study into a time so different than ours. Legal rules surely would be different, and in commercial law very often the laws of cities would apply. How to find out? And what about the availability of reliable information and documentation about Rembrandt’s acts himself? Long story short, I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, titled ‘Rembrandt’s Money. The legal and financial life of an artist-entrepreneur in 17th century Holland’. Editors and publishers are in full swing and aim for publication in November 2021.

The book. Rembrandt’s Money offers a comprehensive overview of the legal and financial aspects of the life and work of Rembrandt. It looks at the legal and financial facts, difficulties and disputes that would arise and follow Rembrandt throughout his life. These concern his private life and his work as an artist – from a young master in Leiden in the mid-1620s, to a celebrated entrepreneur in the third and fourth decades of 17th century Amsterdam, culminating in financial distress in the latter part of his life. The book also provides background information on how the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands developed and also insights into the place to be at that time, the city of Amsterdam, its government and court system. This panorama covers furthermore Rembrandt’s house and studio (its history, surroundings, neighbours), how he worked (painting, etching and drawing, training pupils) and ran his professional business, and includes financial and economic data about art, the art market and market players. Providing an overview of the applicable laws and rules in those days – family law, marriage law, inheritance law, contract law, the law of obligations, procedural law (including some arbitration), company law, insolvency law, and private international law – I am certain that the book covers a topic that up to now has not been the subject of systematic research: the legal and financial life of the famous artist in 17th century Holland.

Runway to publication. Up to its publication I will regularly blog some background of the book’s themes and details of its content. I hope to be able to connect such information with actual developments in literature or shared via (virtual) meetings. Just let me explain to you that as main audience for readership I see legal and financial professionals, especially with an appetite for the developments in civil, commercial and insolvency law in 17th century Holland. When details of the publication date will be known, I will inform you via this blog. And, by the way, if you are interested to get notified every time a blog appears, please follow Rembrandt’s Money on social media.

Information as to today:

Bob Wessels, ‘Rembrandt’s Money. The legal and financial life of an artist-entrepreneur

in 17th century Holland’.

Deventer: Wolters Kluwer. ISBN 9789013164893 (forthcoming Autumn 2021)