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Rembrandt in New Jersey

I love stories like this that I stumbled upon today. In one of those dream scenarios, two brothers found a painting while cleaning out their late parents’ home in northern New Jersey. Neither brother wanted it and the sharp-eyed owner of Nye & Co. auction house in Bloomfield, New Jersey thought it warranted a closer look.


Bloomfield Rembrandt


In this made-for-the-movies story, the painting turned out to be a Rembrandt. Called the “The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the Sense of Smell)” the New Jersey painting is among Rembrandt’s earliest known works, dating from 1624, when he was about 18. It depicts an unconscious youth receiving what could be smelling salts from one of two attendants.  The work of art stands just 9 inches tall. It was one of five pieces that the young Rembrandt created to depict the five senses.

The Los Angeles Times reports the painting, purchased by New York financier, Thomas Kaplan, at auction for around $1 million, is currently on display at the  J. Paul Getty Museum, in LA.

As a lover of the Dutch golden age of portraiture, as well as a portrait artist myself, I think this story is so wonderful and amazing. Those NJ brothers must be pretty happy.


Montclair State University Invasion


Last week, my studio was ‘invaded’ by photography majors from Montclair State University. Klaus Schnitzer, the head of the photography department at MSU, brought 17 students as part of their field study to see how different types of photography are done.  Their field trip to see a commercial photography studio brought them to see me.

Photo Credit: the photographs of the class were taken by Klaus Schnitzer on his iPhone 6+

After discussing the business of photography and how I got into photography, I spent the rest of the class demonstrating how a professional portrait is done. Using my Elinchrom studio lighting and volunteers from the group, I demonstrated how different lighting creates different results…some very dramatic!IMG_8015_Snapseed

I picked one student out of the crowd who’s hair was made for a portrait…the photo speaks for itself, if you ask me!


With another student I highlighted her colorful and artistic eyes.


We discussed how slight changes in the direction and the size of the light, and varying the pose by the subject can create entirely different moods.


This behind the scenes shot may look like your every day portrait, but once the flash is set off and the background is eliminated, a whole new look is achieved.


I look forward to seeing how these students fare in their photographic careers. Some may pursue portraiture, some art, some commercial…the possibilities are endless, really! Who knows what the future holds for them AND for photography…but I hope they find the field rewarding and a passport for seeing the strange and interesting corners of this world.