Rembrandt authentication has long been a problem

The Spring 2013 issue of Chemical Heritage contains a fascinating article (“Quest for Permanence”, by Augustin Cerveaux and Even Hepler-Smith) about Maximillian Toch (1854- 1946), industrial chemist and pioneer in the use of science– particularly x-radiography– in the authentication of art. In 1923, Toch who later warned of the deterioration of “Cleopatra’s Needle” following its installation in Central Park (New York City), was brought in by art historian John van Dyke as a scientific consultant in a dispute to establish authorship of the then fifteen “Rembrandt” paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. This was forty-five years before the Rembrandt Research Project attempted to do the same thing for Rembrandt’s corpus.