A Rembrandt to remember

A Rembrandt to remember

Rarely-seen masterpiece gifted to Queen’s art museum in memory of honoured alumnus Alfred Bader.

By Dave Rideout

May 3, 2019


Rembrandt's "Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair".
Daniel and Linda Bader recently gifted Rembrandt's Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's, in honour of Daniel's late father and Queen's alumnus, Alfred Bader.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University will unveil Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair – a 1659 painting by legendary Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, rarely seen by the public. Linda and Daniel Bader recently donated the piece to the museum in memory of Daniel’s late father and Queen’s alumnus, Alfred Bader. Dr. Bader, chemist, entrepreneur, visionary philanthropist, and discerning collector of art, passed away last December. His 95th birthday would have been on April 28, 2019.

Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair was one of my father’s favourite paintings,” says Daniel Bader. “It hung in his living room, where he spent hours admiring it, until he gave it to me in 2001. My wife Linda and I are proud to present this beautiful painting to Queen’s in my father’s honour.”

Alfred and Isabel Bader previously donated three Rembrandt paintings to the Agnes:

Rembrandt's "Man with Arms Akimbo"
Man with Arms Akimbo


Rembrandt's "Head of an Old Man in a Cap
Head of an Old Man in a Cap


Rembrandt's "Head of a Man in Turban
Head of a Man in Turban


With the addition of this remarkable gift to the Agnes, Queen’s University is now home to four of seven Rembrandt paintings in public Canadian collections. Head of Old Man with Curly Hair joins three of the painter’s acclaimed works previously donated by Alfred and Isabel Bader in 2003, 2007, and 2015. It also becomes the latest addition to the Agnes’s Bader Collection, which comprises over 200 paintings spanning the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, with a focus on Dutch and Flemish paintings of the Baroque era. Together, the collection reflects Rembrandt’s sphere of artistic influence.

“This donation by Linda and Daniel Bader is an extraordinary gesture,” says Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art at the Agnes. “Not only is the work an exquisite rendering of old age and light that complements the three Rembrandt paintings in The Bader Collection, but its presentation to the Agnes honours Alfred’s memory in a tremendously appropriate manner. I am so pleased that this painting will be here to enrich possibilities for learning and discovery.”

The Rembrandt gift further advances the Agnes’s mission as a research-intensive art museum that provides experiential learning opportunities for Queen’s students across the university. Students and faculty of all disciplines at the university engage with The Bader Collection to build knowledge and seek inspiration through original works of art rather than reproductions. Even students in nursing and rehabilitation therapy have made use of the collection for study and research.

“Not only does the donation of this piece broaden the cultural and academic opportunities Queen’s offers its students and researchers, it speaks volumes about the deep, meaningful relationships our institution strives to build with those who spend time here,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader have made incalculable contributions to our university, and we are delighted that their love for Queen’s has inspired Daniel, and his wife Linda, to make such a meaningful gift to honour that legacy.”

Agnes will publicly debut Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair on Friday, May 3, 2019 at their season opening event. There, Agnes director Jan Allen will discuss the painting’s addition to the collection, and share the museum’s deep gratitude for the contributions of the Bader family.

“This painting extends the impact of The Bader Collection at Queen’s in powerful ways,” says Ms. Allen. “Thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of Linda and Daniel Bader, this outstanding work will be available for present and future generations.”

Agnes is a globally-networked art museum, which is home to significant, high-quality collections. In addition to The Bader Collection, collections include concentrations in contemporary art, Canadian historical art, and smaller holdings of African art, Indigenous art, and historical dress. Starting on August 24 and running until December 1, the Bader Gallery will host Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges, an exhibition about the artist's early career and influences. The exhibition will travel the country with stops at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina), and the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Hamilton), until May 2021.

Learn more about the Bader collection and the newly gifted Rembrandt on the Agnes’s website.