Collection Development

Today the Morgan has the largest collection of Rembrandt prints in North America, thanks in part to Greene’s efforts to acquire the Dutch artist’s work: thirty-one etchings came to the museum between 1924 and 1929. While Greene was traveling, her secretary and assistant Violet Burnie (later Napier) received word of a Rembrandt print for sale. To ensure the piece wasn’t sold, Burnie, followed her boss’s guidance and had the print sent for inspection, cabling the decision to Greene. Greene’s staff was well versed in the strengths and needs of the collection and often helped identify new acquisitions.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–1669)
A Scholar in His Study (‘Faust’), ca. 1652
Etching, engraving, and drypoint
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased from Gilhofer & Ranschburg via Schab, 2 September 1929; RVR 360

Violet Burnie
Note to Belle da Costa Greene, 1929
Archives of the Morgan Library & Museum