Rembrandt and the Jews: The Berger Print Collection

October 7, 2016 - January 14, 2017
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Rembrandt and the Jews: The Berger Print Collection

Rembrandt and the Jews features a collection of 22 etchings by the Dutch master that explore the relationship between the artist and the Jewish residents of his Amsterdam neighborhood. As a companion to the exhibition, additional prints by Rembrandt and the work of his peers and predecessors Anthony van Dyck, Albrecht Dürer and other artists will be on view, drawn from the collections of the Figge, the University of Iowa, Augustana College, and Pella Historical Society and Museums.

During the 17th century, The Dutch Republic, also known as the Netherlands, was an economic, scientific and artistic powerhouse that dominated international trade. Amsterdam, its financial and cultural capital, was a center of learning and a haven during a period of religious persecution across Europe. Refugees flocked to the city, including Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal who were forced to deny their religion in their home countries, but were free to reclaim these traditions in the Netherlands. Rembrandt lived in Amsterdam’s prosperous Jewish neighborhood, where he found patrons and models for his work. In his interpretation of Protestant Old Testament narratives, Rembrandt consulted Jewish theologians for a varied perspective of these familiar subjects. He also painted and etched portraits of prominent Jews in the city.

In addition, the exhibition will explore Rembrandt’s printmaking process, and the technical and formal innovations that he brought to the traditional medium of etching.

On view October 8, 2016-January 15, 2017

Rembrandt and the Jews was organized by the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.

Exhibition Sponsors:
Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities  •  
Jeff and Lynda Eirinberg  •  Dr. Ralph Saintfort of Medical Psychiatry Services, LLC

Companion Events

Thursday, October 13
5:30 pm Opening Reception: Rembrandt and the Jews
7 pm Gallery Talk
Figge Executive Director Tim Schiffer and Judy Larson, R. Anthony Askew Professor of Art History and director of Westmont Museum of Art will celebrate the exhibition’s opening with an introduction and informal gallery tour.

Thursday, November 3
7 pm Curator Talk: Lisa DeBoer, PhD
“Rembrandt’s Jews in Context”
Why was Rembrandt interested in portraying so many Jewish themes and subjects? And why should we care? Answers to these questions have varied widely over the course of the last century. Lisa DeBoer, Ph.D., will explore the ways in which art historians have responded to Rembrandt’s Jews, emphasizing both the historical context of 17th-century Amsterdam, as well as the historiographical context of the practice of art history, in order to consider what these images might have to say to us today
Dr. Lisa DeBoer is a professor of the History of Art at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. 

Thursday, November 10
7 pm Gallery Talk: Katie Kiley 
Artist and printmaker Katie Kiley will share her research on Rembrandt and experience with printmaking techniques as she leads audience members on a gallery tour of the exhibition.

Thursday, November 17
6 pm Friends of the Figge Event: Print Demonstration
Join artist and printmaker Katie Kiley in Studio 4 for an intaglio print demonstration. Those who wish to participate should wear painting togs. All Friends level members and above are invited to attend. To become a Friends level member ($125 or above) or to RSVP, contact Sara Morby at 563.345.6642 or

Exhibition Tours
October 15th & 16th, November 12th & 13th

Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham's Sacrifice, 1645, etching and drypoint on laid paper, Gift of Fran and Howard Berger, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art

Past Exhibitions

Orientation Gallery
Img 5005 1
Img 4901 2

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