Essential Vermeer Newsletter no. 11

July 11, 2004

In the News

Sotheby's London
July, 7, 2004

The Young Woman Seated at the Virginals, recently attributed to Vermeer after 10 years of study by a special committee comprised of foremost conservators and Dutch art experts, just sold for the sum of £16,246,000 or $30,137,000 to an anonymous telephone bidder. Fierce bidding for saw the starting price of 3 million pounds quickly eclipsed.

"Seven bidders competed for the painting, which Sotheby's had given an extremely cautious pre-sale estimate of £3 million. Most art market insiders believed that it would fetch between £10 million and £15 million but it would have sold for far more if it had been less controversial. The overflowing salesroom burst into applause when George Gordon, an expert in the Sotheby's old-master paintings department, took the winning bid by telephone. While the auction house is not saying who the buyer was, it is believed to be Stephen A. Wynn, the Las Vegas casino owner. For years, Mr. Wynn has collected trophy paintings by the great masters: Rembrandt, Rubens, Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso and Sargent. Other possible buyers, experts say, could have been the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. (Scott J. Schaefer, its chief curator, was in the audience) and Lord Thomson of Fleet, one of the richest men in Canada. Still, most experts in the room thought the buyer was Mr. Wynn. If it was, he was one of seven determined bidders. Robert Noortman, an old-master paintings dealer based in Maastricht, the Netherlands, also tried hard to buy the painting. He stopped bidding at $25.7 million. Mr. Noortman, who was sitting in the front row, said before the auction that he wanted to buy it for his inventory." * "On Wednesday, despite the tidal wave of enthusiasm among bidders at Sotheby's, unanimity had not been achieved. Salomon Lilian, an Amsterdam dealer, summed up the naysayers' main reason for rejecting the picture as a Vermeer. 'Vermeer has a magic. It isn't there.' An imperfect Vermeer, then? Unfortunately, for a painting in the style of the artist at the height of his career, this is not plausible." **

* Painting by Vermeer Sold for $30 Million
Published: July 7, 2004

**Lessons from the Old Masters
Souren Melikian, Herald Tribune


(The magic of everyday life: Jan Steen, Johannes Vermeer and their contemporaries)
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
23 October, 2004–9 January, 2005

There should be three Vermeer's in this exhibition: The Geographer (Frankfurt), A Lady Writing (Washington) and a third one to be announced. (I hope to be more certain of which Vermeer's will be in this exhibition in the near future and will communicate them as soon as possible.) Among the painters in the exhibition are: Frans van Mieris., Adriaen Brouwer, Adriaen van Ostade, Gerrit Dou, Gerrit ter Borch, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch and Gabriel Metsu.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museumpark 18–20
NL-3015 CX Rotterdam
Netherlands T: +31 10 441 9400
F: +31 10 436 0500


from the museum website:
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen en het Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt organiseren samen deze tentoonstelling. Van ongeveer 24 schilders zijn zij de belangrijkste specialisten op dit gebied in de Hollandse schilderkunst. De expositie begint met de Rotterdamse schilder Willem Buytewech en eindigt met de grote schilder Frans van Mieris. Andere belangrijke kunstenaars in deze tentoonstelling zijn verder Adriaen Brouwer, Adriaen van Ostade, Gerrit Dou, Gerrit ter Borch, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu en Johannes Vermeer.

other venue:
Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut (dates not yet known)


by Nanette Salomon
to be released this summer (2004)

This ground-breaking book offers the first sustained examination of Dutch seventeenth-century genre painting from a theoretically informed feminist perspective. Other recent works that deal with "images of women" in this field maintain the paradoxical combination of seeing the images as positivist reflections of "life as it was" and as emblems of virtue and vice. These reductionist practices deprive the works of their place in visual culture and complex nature, important frameworks that the book attempts to restore to them. Salomon seeks to expand the possibilities for understanding both familiar and unfamiliar paintings from this period by submitting them to a wide range of new and provocative questions. Paintings and prints from the first half of the century through to the second are analyzed to understand the changing social roles and values attributed to the sexes as they were introduced and reflected in the visual arts. The book contains two excellent essays on Vermeer, "The Balance of Destiny" and "Vermeer's Women; Sexuality and Civility."

by Albert Blankert

from the Waanders website:

Albert Blankert is best known to general readers for his standard book on the life and art of Johannes Vermeer, which has appeared in many editions and languages all over the world. Insiders are equally appreciative of his achievements in devising and mounting numerous large-scale exhibitions and the catalogues to accompany them, not only those of Rembrandt and his pupils, but also, and perhaps most notably, his epoch-making shows of outstanding artists who had hitherto suffered unjust neglect—Italianate landscapists, history painters and classicists. True connoisseurs relish most of all Blankert's concise, insightful essays suggesting apt solutions to fundamental art historical questions. Twenty-three of his best pieces of writing have been carefully selected for this book, representing a career that spans four decades. They stand the test of time astonishingly well; where needed, the author has fully updated them for this book. Blankert's work has profoundly influenced the thinking of scholars of Dutch art. Nonetheless, his lucid, jargon-free style of writing is always addressed and attuned to the common sense of the "ordinary" reader.


Insert Portraits by Caspar and Constantijn Netscher – 1966
Daniel van Beke, Sheriff, Painter and Poet – 1967
Pieter van Laer as a Painter of Animals and Landscapes – 1968
Rembrandt, Zeuxis and Ideal Beauty – 1973
Art and Authority in Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: Paintings for Public Places by Ferdinand Bol and Others – 1975
A Rediscovered Annunciation to the Shepherds by Pieter van Laer – 1978
Gods, Saints and Heroes: Dutch History Painting – 1980
Hendrick Avercamp – 1982
Introduction to Mercury no. 1 – 1985
Hendrick ter Brugghen and Dutch Caravaggism – 1986
A Preparatory Study by Carel Willink – 1987
What is Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting? A Definition and its Limitations – 1987
Allegory of the Five Senses by Jan Brueghel and Hendrick van Balen – 1987
'Dame Winter' by Caesar van Everdingen – 1991
Ferdinand Bol Transforms a Utrecht Home into a Palace – 1992
Rembrandt and his Followers: Notes on Connoisseurship – its Potential and Pitfalls – 1993
A Controversial Flower Still Life – 1993
Lastman Looks at Caravaggio and Inspires Rembrandt and Van Loo – 1993
Vermeer 's View of Delft Restored – 1994
(with Louis P. Grijp)An Adjustable Leg and a Book: Lacemakers by Vermeer and Others, and Bredero 'sGroot Lied-boeck in One by Dou – 1995
An Anachronistic View of Dutch Art – 1995
Michael Sweerts: Painter of Silence and Secrecy – 2001
Barend and I – 2002
Publications by Albert Blankert

Essential Vermeer nEWSLETTERS

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 /11/ 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 /32 / 33 / 34 / 35 / 36 / 37/ 38 / 39 / 40