Even at the age of eight, Tom Kaplan asked his parents to take him to Amsterdam, because Rembrandt lived there. However, he only wanted to see as many works by the Dutch master as possible, not assuming that he would begin to collect them. The young man believed that all significant masterpieces of the Golden Age of the Northern Baroque are in museums. He was amazed to learn how many paintings of that era still remain in private collections.
Tom Kaplan began collecting Dutch art in 2003 at the age of 41 with the support of his wife. Nowadays, their collection of historical paintings, portraits, and genre scenes of old masters exceeds the scale of all frequent collections and is second only to a few national museums. It is based on 11 paintings and two drawings by Rembrandt, as well as 10 works performed in his workshop. In parallel, other painters from Leiden are represented. For example, Franz van Mieris and Gabriel Metsu, who flourished under the influence of Gerrit Dou – the first student of Rembrandt.
In addition, the collection is proud of the works of Frans Hals, Gerard Ter Borch, Hendrick Jansz Terbrugghen, and the only remaining private example of the mature style of Jan Vermeer – the portrait “Young Woman at the Virgin” (1670 – 1672). The Leiden Collection, named after Rembrandt’s hometown, currently has over 250 paintings and drawings.
Having gathered such a rich collection, the Kaplan couple is looking for ways to make it useful to the world – both for study and as a source of inspiration. Until now, it has served as an anonymous “credit library” available to curators and directors of over forty museums that have organized specialized exhibitions or rented masterpieces for long-term rentals.
Now, on the Internet, you can not only view, but also free download high-quality digital copies of unique paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Mieris, Dou, and their contemporaries, including three panels from the series “Five Senses” – the earliest known works of Rembrandt. The Leiden collection, one of the largest private collections of paintings by Dutch masters, introduced its own website. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the most significant treasures of art.