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Essential Vermeer Newsletter no.12

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November 14, 2004


(Zinnen en minnen. Schilders van het dagelijks leven in de zeventiende eeuw)
October 23, 2004–January 9, 2005
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Dr. Jeroen Giltaij

museum information:
With the exhibition Senses and Sins' the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum presents an important survey of painters of everyday life in the Golden Age, starting with Willem Buytewech in about 1620 and ending with Frans van Mieris around 1670.

Highlights of this exhibition are three paintings by Johannes Vermeer and works by other painters such as Adriaen Brouwer, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Jan Steen and Gerrit ter Borch. The presentation in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam lasts from October 23 2004 to January 9 2005, after which the exhibition will travel to the Städelsches Kunstinsitut in Frankfurt.

The 82 paintings comprising the exhibition are by 22 artists and come from numerous museums in the Netherlands and other countries. Each and every one of these artists specialized in specific subjects, and many of them depicted lively, bucolic, refined and sometimes mysterious scenes.

JOHANNES VERMEER has pride of place in the exhibition with three of his masterpieces. On loan from the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt is his Geographer, famed for its lighting and the detailed rendering of the attributes. Other exhibits are the A Lady Writing a Letter, from the National Gallery, Washington and the Woman with a Lute, from the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The female lute-player in this work of 1660 gazes expectantly through the window; the viola da gamba on the floor and the books of music on the table suggest that she is expecting a male visitor.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue containing three introductory articles, detailed biographies of the painters and descriptions of the exhibits. The catalogue is published in Dutch, English and German editions.

An additional 3 Euros will be charged for admission.

website announcement:

3 December, 2004–27 February, 2005
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Zwinger Theaterplatz 1, D-01067 Dresden, Germany

curator: Uta Neidhardt

This a studio exhibition to mark the restoration of the painting in 2003. The exhibition deals with the restoration of the painting, the painting technique and a new art historian approach to the painting. The studio exhibition contains only The Procuress by Vermeer and some paintings by other Netherlandish artists of the same period which are in our possession, besides some glasses, jugs, dresses, a musical instrument and some other objects to compare special aspects with the Vermeer painting. Included in the exhibition is a detailed documentation of the restoration.

A monographic catalogue will be published with essays about the restoration, scientific examinations of the Vermeer and the art historian valuation of the new discoveries.

T: +49 351 491 4619
F: +49 351 491 4616
E: info@skd.smwk.sachsen.de

website announcement:

7 November, 2004–30 January, 2005
National Gallery of Art
Constitution Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20565, USA

curator: Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.

museum information:
This is the first monographic exhibition in the United States of works by Gerrit ter Borch (1617–1681), one of the finest Dutch genre and portrait painters, and an artist who greatly influenced Johannes Vermeer and Frans van Mieris. Some 50 of his best works, including his celebrated group portrait, Signing of the Peace of Munster, May 15, 1648 (1648), from the National Gallery in London, and his renowned genre scene, the so-called Paternal Admonition (c. 1654) from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, have been brought together from public and private collections.

The paintings of Ter Borch are remarkably varied, and the selection represents each phase of his career, the early pictures of the 1630s, the mid-career genre paintings, and the small portraits distinctive for their psychological intensity. Ter Borch was unrivaled in his ability to capture the elegance and grace of wealthy burghers and to express with subtlety the interactions between figures. He is renowned for his refined interior scenes, which typically depict two or three elegantly clad, full-length figures engaged in activities such as writing letters or making music. In addition to capturing the psychology of the sitters, the paintings show Ter Borch's mastery in rendering materials, particularly satins, which are notoriously difficult to paint.

This exhibition will not only give museum visitors in the United States their first opportunity to see a broad overview of Ter Borch's work, but will also result in the first major English-language publication on the artist. The exhibition catalogue, to be published by the American Federation of Arts and the National Gallery of Art, will include an essay by Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr, Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, on Ter Borch's life and work; a study of the modernity of Ter Borch's paintings by Alison McNeil Kettering, Professor of Art History at Carleton College; and an examination of Ter Borch's painting technique by Arie Wallert, Conservator of Paintings at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. In addition, each painting in the exhibition will be illustrated and discussed in a separate entry.

other venues:
Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, 28 February–22 May, 2005.

T: +1 202 737 4215
E: der-info@nga.go

museum website:

(Carel Fabritius: de jonge meester)
24 September, 2004–9 January, 2005
Korte Vijverberg 8, NL-2513 AB Den Haag, Netherlands

Kornelia von Berswordt-Walrabe, Frits Duparc, Peter van der Ploeg, Gero Seelig and Ariane van Suchtelen.

museum press release:
The Mauritshuis will be mounting the first survey exhibition ever of the work of Carel Fabritius (1622–1654) from 25 September, 2004 to 9 January, 2005. The life of this young and ingenious painter ended tragically in 1654: he was one of the victims of the enormous explosion of the municipal arsenal of Delft. As a result, he left behind a modest, yet multifaceted oeuvre. Its exceptional quality marks Fabritius as one of the true geniuses of seventeenth-century Dutch painting. Had he been granted a longer life, his fame today might have equaled that of his teacher Rembrandt or his fellow townsman Vermeer. Partly thanks to recent discoveries, Fabritius' oeuvre—shortly to be been in its entirety in the Mauritshuis—now comprises 12 paintings. Authentic documents and written and painted sources by his contemporaries are also presented. Thus, the Mauritshuis is giving the most complete possible picture of this astonishingly talented painter and his turbulent life.

Exhibition in two sections: the actual paintings and a documentary presentation.

Confusion about Fabritius' work stimulated extensive art-historical and technical research in recent years. Some paintings turned out to be incorrectly attributed to him, an early work was discovered in 1985, and several unsigned paintings could be ascribed to the master. The exhibition comprises 14 paintings: 12 by Fabritius, and the Man with a helmet, now no longer given to him, and the Slaughtered ox, the attribution of which is still uncertain.

The exhibition represents a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with Fabritius' modest but highly original oeuvre in its entirety, from the early history scenes to his later Delft masterpieces and his three self-portraits. Complementing the paintings is a documentary presentation providing background information on Fabritius' work and life. The material on view is diverse. For example, the locations of his home and the municipal arsenal are indicated in a map of Delft (by Johannes de Ram and Coenraet Decker). A painting of the church in Middenbeemster was probably made by Fabritius' father, who like his brothers, Johannes and Barent, was an amateur painter. A seventeenth-century peepshow from the Museum Bredius and a reconstruction of a perspective box with a reproduction of Fabritius' View of Delft yield insight into the possibilities of perspective, with which Fabritius also experimented. Surprising results from recent restoration projects are explained. The account of the disastrous explosion and Fabritius' tragic death by his contemporary and city biographer of Delft, Dirck van Bleyswijck in an authentic document is also included. And, a print by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (in a pamphlet by Schabaelje) and a painting by his fellow townsman Egbert van der Poel show the havoc following the explosion.

The catalogue, in which the newest findings, interpretations and attributions are outlined, will be available as of 24 September, 2004. The introductory essay is by F. J. Duparc, director of the Mauritshuis and the remaining contributions are by Ariane van Suchtelen, curator of the Mauritshuis and Gero Seelig, curator of the Staatliches Museum Schwerin. Published by Waanders: available in Dutch, English and German.

other venue:
Schwerin, Staatliches Museum (28 January-16 May, 2005)

T: +31 70 302 3456
F: +31 70 365 3819
E: communicatie@mauritshuis.nl

August 11, 2004–to March 2005
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

So who bought the A Lady Seated at a Virginal; for $30,137,000 ? Still no clue but it's now on view in the Philadelphia Museum of Art at a special installation from August 11, 2004–to March 2005.


In the News

by Edward J. Sozanski

In the mean time Edward J. Sozanski, Art Critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer aired an idea in his article, "Mystery lender? A case for Wynn." Mr. Sozanski "bets his chips" (excuse the pun) on Steve Wynn, Las Vegas casino magnate and art collector.

Here's Mr. Sozanski article:

"Last summer, for instance, he paid more than $11 million for an early Rembrandt self-portrait. In May 2003, he spent nearly $41 million at two New York auctions to buy a Renoir portrait and a Cézanne self-portrait.

Wynn has been a high-profile collector and dealer since he began to buy art in 1996, when he was chief executive officer of Mirage Resorts. He favors high-profile paintings by marquee names, and he has collected across the board—old masters, impressionism, postimpressionism, modernism and contemporary art. At times, his collection has included paintings by Rembrandt, Manet, van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Modigliani, Matisse And y Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Willem de Kooning, among others.

By putting an art gallery in the Bellagio hotel and displaying his collection there, Wynn introduced fine art to the Las Vegas resort mix, as part of the city's short-lived makeover into a family-oriented tourist destination. Wynn fills the mystery-buyer bill for several other reasons. Sotheby's is known to have flown the Vermeer to Las Vegas so he could inspect it before the sale. And being rare, the Vermeer is a classic trophy painting of the kind that Wynn has spent hundreds of millions to acquire.

Wynn has been out of the country during the last few weeks, and has not responded to several calls and one e-mail to his Las Vegas office inquiring about the Vermeer. A few experts wonder why Wynn, a talented entrepreneur and promoter, would choose to remain anonymous. He has acknowledged other big-ticket art purchases, including the Rembrandt last year. Why wouldn't he take the painting back at Las Vegas and make some noise about it?

The circumstances of the loan suggest a reason. The Vermeer, which only recently was confirmed as genuine through detailed technical analysis, is apparently being parked at the museum through March.

Wynn is opening a new casino hotel, Wynn Las Vegas, in April. Like the Bellagio, which Wynn once owned, it will have an art gallery. (The hotel was initially named "Le Reve," after a painting by Picasso that Wynn and his wife own.) As a rare painting by one of the most esteemed Dutch masters, the Vermeer would make a splendid headliner for the new exhibition space. Keeping it on ice at the Art Museum preserves its publicity value and keeps it safe until opening day.

For now, the circumstantial compass points west, to Las Vegas. If Wynn is the only other individual besides Queen Elizabeth II to own a Vermeer (something I think would appeal to him), we'll know for certain in April, when Wynn Las Vegas sporting in-house Ferrari and Maserati dealerships, raises the luxury bar another notch on the Vegas Strip."

Essential Vermeer Website Additions

I have been hard at work on the Complete Online Vermeer Catalogue of the site trying to bring together as much information and visual stimulus as possible regarding every painting of Vermeer.,


Explore what's behind four of Vermeer's masterworks by simply rolling your mouse over various areas of interest of the digital image of each painting. (system requirements: Netscape 4 -Internet Explorer 4+)


Extremely high quality details of some of Vermeer's paintings. The same feature will gradually come available for every painting in the Complete Vermeer Online Catalogue.

  • The Geographer
  • The Little Street
  • The Milkmaid
  • A Lady Writing
  • The Lacemaker


The first notice we have of Vermeer's family is in 1598 when Vermeer's grandfather, the tailor Jan Reyersz., cashed a debt obligation and the last is when his daughter Aleydis Vermeer died in The Hague in 1749. Explore the lives of Vermeer's family members by rolling your cursor over their names on the digital family tree.


(system requirements: Netscape 4 -Internet Explorer 4+)


by Frederik H. Kreuger
130 illustrations
ISBN 90 – 76988 – 53 – 6

The life of Han Van Meegeren has been described in at least ten books, countless articles in papers and periodicals and in a stage-play. All these sources have one thing in common: they contradict each other. Mr. Frederik H. Kreuger attempts to solve many of the contradictions comparing them with reliable sources like municipal registers.


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