The Rembrandt Club


Passaic County Historical Society Publication, 1969, Vol. 2


Catholina Lambert’s Art Gallery

“Belle Vista,” the beautiful home of Catholina Lambert, was the scene of an unusual gathering on Saturday, April 16, 1898.  Mr. Lambert was host to sixty members of the Rembrandt Club of Brooklyn, an organization of art collectors, connoisseurs, and patrons which included many leading men of greater New York.

The club members came on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in two Pullman cars provided for them by Mr. Lambert, arriving there about one o’clock.
The fame of the host as a collector of rare paintings and sculpture was so well known in this metropolis that nearly every member of that representative organization took advantage of his generous invitation and the opportunity – was the occasion of the gathering – of viewing a number of old Dutch paintings never before placed on exhibition.

Among the members present were Henry T. Chapman, president; Walter K. Paye, vice-president; Charles K. Ovington, secretary; T. J. Blakeslee, importer of many of Mr. Lambert’s great collection; Eugene Fischof, American representative of Seideimeyer & Co. of Paris, the largest art dealers in the world; George A. Hearn, well-known New York merchant who had one of the largest and best collections of paintings in America; and many others scarcely less noted in the art world at the time.

As soon as the ‘Rembrandts’ arrived at the Castle they were served an elaborate luncheon, after which they were given ‘carte blanche’ to wander through the spacious buildings, the galleries of paintings, and over the grounds.  The guests lost no time in placing themselves before the works that had just been hung.

Some of the club members never before having seen Mr. Lambert’s collection, their comments were enthusiastic in the extreme.  Mr. Chapman, president of the club remarked to a reporter:

This has been a great day in the history of the Rembrandt Club.  Some of us have pretty creditable collections ourselves, but we were not prepared to see here an array of paintings that in some respects cannot be equaled in the world.  Some of these old Dutch paints of the 17th century re not to be found anywhere else; those of the 18th century English masters are not to be matched in American and many individual pictures are world renowned.

A surprising and remarkable thing about Mr. Lambert’s collection is the catholicity.  It doesn’t run to any one school but covers them all, and that is one of the grandest features.  Every school is represented by some of the best examples existent.  Mr. Lambert certainly never had any guests who could better appreciate this great showing than he had today.  I regard it nothing short of a marvel that one man in a lifetime has been able to gather together such a collection, embracing as it does all the schools, from the Dutch to the contemporary French and American.”

The members of the club returned to New York aboard the special cars furnished by Mr. Lambert, at 6:20 p.m.