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A Crazy Art World Conspiracy Theory

February 16, 2021
three men with a white napkin

Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell) by Rembrandt van Rijn, Courtesy: The Leiden Collection

Jay Rappoport is not happy with his family’s actions and has brought a lawsuit against more than 20 individuals.

In 2015, a member of the Rappoport family put an Old Master painting up at Nye & Co (a small auction room in New Jersey). The work, estimated to bring as much as $800, ended up selling for over $1 million to Talabardon & Gautier, Paris. Well, it turns out that the work is an early Rembrandt titled Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell), painted around 1624-25.

The gallery sold the piece to Thomas Kaplan for a reported $4 million (excellent return). Kaplan collects work by the Rembrandt and has reunited it with two others in his collection from the same series — a set inspired by the human senses.

According to The Art Newspaper article: in the court complaint, Jay Rappoport, the grandson of Philip Rappoport, a silk manufacturer who purchased Unconscious Patient before the Great Depression, says his aunt “pilfered” the work from his ailing grandmother before she died and that his cousins consigned it to auction without his knowledge or permission as an heir. He maintains that bidders at the auction were working together as part of a conspiracy. Rappoport is also suing Thomas Kaplan and the Leiden Collection, demanding the return of the work or $5m, plus legal fees and court costs.

Guess conspiracy theories are the norm today! We will let you know what happens with this family dispute.

Source: Family members fall out over Rembrandt stored in a New Jersey basement