WASHINGTON — A new exhibit begs the question: Who stuck an original Rembrandt etching away in a bathroom cabinet at Catholic University of America?
Rev. David O'Connell found the print shortly after he became university president in 1998 when he was searching for paper towels.
"I went into the restroom in Nugent Hall and opened a cabinet there," he notes. "I found the paper towels but as I was closing the cabinet door, I noticed on the bottom shelf under some junk, a picture frame jutting out. I bent down, pulled out the frame only to discover an etching that looked familiar to me. Why it was there or how it got there, I’ll never know."
The etching of a bearded old man was tucked away for years. Then, last year, O'Connell asked the university archivist if it could be a real Rembrandt. The artist's name was on the piece.
Archivist Leslie Knoblauch says an appraiser confirmed its authenticity shortly after.
On Monday, the Rembrandt became the centerpiece of a new exhibit at the university, "Fine Lines: Discovering Rembrandt and Other Old Masters at Catholic University." The exhibit also includes engravings of Abraham Lincoln photos.