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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 13:41 GMT
Rembrandt linked to '40m sale'
The Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet. Photo: Rijksmuseum
The painting is on display in Amsterdam until April
A 17th Century Rembrandt portrait, privately owned in Wales for 150 years, could be bought for more than 40m.

The Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet is currently on loan to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to mark the 400th anniversary of the artist's birth.

A Dutch Culture Ministry spokeswoman confirmed it was considering buying the painting for its state collection.

It usually hangs at Penrhyn castle, Gwynedd, but the Penrhyn Estates' art adviser said no offer had been made.

A spokesman for the Rijksmuseum said that he believed that the painting was worth between 50-70m euros (32m - 46m).

The sitter is a very important sitter for Rembrandt
Stephen Somerville, art adviser

The museum is giving the 1657 portrait a special focus to round off its Rembrandt anniversary celebrations which started last year.

It was also returned "home" on loan for exhibitions to coincide with the painter's 300th and 350th anniversaries.

It was brought to Penrhyn Castle by the Douglas-Pennant family in the mid-19th Century.

Catrina Hooghsaet, one of the painter's patrons, was 50 when she sat for her portrait in Amsterdam.

The art adviser to Penrhyn Estates, Stephen Somerville, said there had been friendly discussions with the Rijksmuseum, but no formal offer had yet been made.

He described the painting as a "great treasure" and said it was special because it was a late portrait.

"Most of the others that have been on the market are from the early 1630s.

"Also, the sitter is a very important sitter for Rembrandt," he added.

Funds

A spokeswoman for the Dutch Culture Ministry confirmed the government was interested in buying the painting.

She said it was currently trying to raise the funds, but would not say how much they would be willing to pay.

The National Trust, which runs Penrhyn Castle, said the portrait was on loan and as far as they are aware nobody had yet made an approach to the trustees of the family to buy it.

Two years ago, the Douglas-Pennant family sold The Burgomaster of Delft, by artist Jan Steen, which is two years older than the Rembrandt, to the Rijksmuseum for 8.1m (12.15m euros).




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"The trustees haven't received an offer... yet"



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