Essential Vermeer Newsletter no. 22



Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno-koen
August 2–December 14, 2008

Vermeer and the Delft Style features 7 rare masterpieces by Johannes Vermeer and other paintings by his contemporaries affording viewers a suggestive glance of Golden Age of Dutch Art. There has been no occasion, where these masterpieces come together in one exhibition ever hosted in Asia and only three of the Vermeers have been formally exhibited.

The Vermeer paintings included in the exhibition are: The Little Street, Diana and her Companions, The Girl with the Wine Glass, Woman with a Lute, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, The Art of Painting and the recently re-attributed A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals. The exhibition also features the miniscule masterpiece View of Delft by Carel Fabritius, a splendid view of Delft by Van der Heyden and two fine De Hoochs.

The exhibition will be supervised by Dr. Peter C. Sutton Director of Bruce Museum (U.S.A.) and Dr. Jeroen Giltaij Chief Curator of Museum Boijmas van Beuningen (Rotterdam, The Netherland).

This exhibit commemorates the150th Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno-koen
8-36 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan 110-0007


August 2 (Sat)–December 14 (Sun), 2008
Closed on Mondays (except for National Holidays on Monday, in which case the museum is open on the holiday and closed on the following Tuesday instead) 9:00–17:00, Fridays until 20:00 (last entry 30 minutes before closing)

further details:

organized by:
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, TBS, The Asahi Shimbunwith the special Sponsorship of: The Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company

also sponsored by:

Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands
11 October, 2008–11 January, 2009

from the Mauritshuis website:

Governed by powerful burghers Dutch cities flourished in the seventeenth century. This engendered a veritable revolution in the art of painting. The affluent citizenry favoured different subject matter than the aristocracy or the church. They fostered a new genre of painting, the cityscape, in which their towns and cities were limned with genuine pride. This exhibition offers a survey of this special type of painting, including famous examples such as Vermeer's View of Delft.

The earliest painted Dutch views of cities are by Hendrick Vroom. At first emphasis lay on the skyline of the city with its ramparts and church towers. After 1650, the painters escort us into the city itself. They show it from up close: the canals, streets and squares, where the daily activities of the city dwellers come to life. The painters of cityscapes were active primarily in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Delft. Only the finest paintings are being selected for this exhibition. Joining Ruisdael's celebrated View of Haarlem are works by Johannes Vermeer, Esaias van de Velde, Jan van der Heyden, Gerrit Berckheyde, Meindert Hobbema, Aelbert Cuyp and Pieter Saenredam.

The exhibition is jointly organized with the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Norton Simon Museum
November 7, 2008 to February 2, 2009

The Norton Simon Museum presents a special installation of Johannes Vermeer's 'A Lady Writing,' c. 1665–1666, a delicate yet captivating painting on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. One of about 35 known works by the Dutch master, the painting will be on view from November 7, 2008, February 2, 2009, providing audiences with the rare opportunity to see a work by Vermeer on the American west coast.

The loan of A Lady Writing is the second between the Norton Simon foundations and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The program launched in summer 2007 Norton Simon's Rembrandt Portrait of a Boy, Presumed to Be the Artist's Son, Titus (c. 1645–1650) to the National Gallery. The arrival of A Lady Writing marks the first loan from the National Gallery to the Norton Simon Museum. Museum officials are preparing for large crowds. "From a local perspective it's going to be really exciting for the city of Pasadena, but for Los Angeles and Southern California, too," Denk said. "We're going to be organizing programs around its installation."

There will be a lecture on Vermeer by the National Gallery's Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of Northern Baroque painting, the weekend the work goes on view.

Norton Simon Museum of Art
411 W. Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91105-1825

tel: 626.449.6840

check museum website for schedule:

museum website:

pdf press release:

media contact:
Leslie Denk, Marketing and Communications Manager
(626) 844-6941;

The Mauritshuis, The Hague
April 2010–August 2010 (subject to change)

Johannes Vermeer is world-famous for his scenes of daily life, such as a kitchen maid pouring milk, a woman having a music lesson, or a lady writing a letter. However, when Vermeer began painting around the age of 21, he focused primarily on traditional subjects derived from the Bible and classical mythology. Not only do these early works differ greatly from his later paintings in terms of subject matter, they also differ in style.

The exhibition unites three paintings from the beginning of Vermeer's artistic career: the Mauritshuis' Diana and her nymphs of c. 1653–1654, is joined by Christ in the house of Martha and Mary (c. 1654–1656) from the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, and The Procuress (1656) from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden. These three paintings afford an image of the artist seeking his own style. All three paintings have recently been restored. This will be the first time that they will be exhibited together in the Netherlands.

Together with Vermeer's later View of Delft (c.1660) and Girl with a Pearl Earring (c.1665) in the Mauritshuis' permanent collection, the exhibition includes no less than five of the master's paintings. Within this context, the differences between Johannes Vermeer's early and late work also emerge clearly.

1 April, 2010–1 August, 2010

Korte Vijverberg 8
NL-2513 AB The Hague
The Netherlands

tel: 31 70 302 3456 (switchboard)
fax: 31 70 365 3819

The Young Vermeer is organized in collaboration with the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden and the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.



An article entitled "Johannes Vermeer en de jezuïeten te Delft" (Johannes Vermeer and the Jesuits of Delft) by historian Paul Begheyn SJ will be published sometime in 2008 in the Dutch art history periodical, Oud-Holland. Mr. Begheyn's article investigates the concrete living conditions of the Jesuits and their context in Delft society. According to the article, one of Vermeer's last works, The Allegory of Faith was most probably ordered by the Jesuits, who wanted it to function as a catechetical-didactic work in their school. In other Dutch cities Jesuits ordered art works for their churches from major artists. At the end of the article two documents that refer to relatives of Vermeer are presented.

Essential Vermeer Website Additions

INTERVIEW WITH TIMOTHY BROOK – exclusive interview with the author of Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Since the 1870s, when J. Soutendam, the first keeper of Delft's archives, and Henry Havard, a French érudit, began looking for information about Vermeer and his family, the "Sphinx of Delft" has slowly been given a more tangible form. More recently, scholarly inquiry has extended into numerous areas of study including Dutch genre painting and iconography bringing Vermeer's artistic endeavors into relation with the work of his colleagues of the glorious Golden Age of Painting. Now, Canadian historian of China Timothy Brook provides a new tool to examine the artist's work and comprehend his complex times in his
Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World.

Vermeer's Hat is a deftly eclectic book, in which Timothy Brook uses details drawn from the great painter's work as a series of entry points to the widest circles of world trade and cultural exchange in the seventeenth century. From the epicenter of Delft, Brook takes his readers on a journey that encompasses Chinese porcelain and beaver pelts, global temperatures and firearms, shipwrecked sailors and their companions, silver mines and Manila galleons. It is a book full of surprising pleasures.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with Mr Brook:


Anyone familiar with Vermeer's oeuvre is certainly aware of the maps which populate the background walls of his interior compositions even though their presumed meanings are still debated by Vermeer scholars. Vermeer was not alone in his fixation for maps. Maps were something very Dutch. This copiously illustrated study takes a look at some of the splendid surviving maps of Vermeer's birthplace Delft. An important friend of the Essential Vermeer, Adelheid Rech, was of great help in the researching of this study.

click here:

In the News


Due to various reasons the Vermeer Center was unfortunately declared bankrupt in September 2007 closing its doors for months. Thanks to unimaginable efforts of Herman Weyers (Evenementenbureau Delft) and notary Wim Boelens, who, with enormous support both from Delft companies and citizens, established a foundation to save the Vermeer Center, it was possible to re-open the Center on 2nd January 2008. With the help and dedication of volunteers and sponsors the Vermeer Centrum has a good chance to be kept open!

Volunteers. There are already a gratifying number of volunteers who do the great part of all kind of work in the Center and without them the Center couldn't get run. However, for the upcoming summer tourist season many additional volunteers are necessary so new volunteers are warmly welcomed and will have the unique opportunity to work in a unique enterprise with a great team.

Those who are interested, please contact Herman Weyers (email:; phone +31 (0)15 2138588 / 06-20014197), or Wim Boelens (email:; phone +31 (0)15-2137050).

Sponsors. There are several opportunities to support the Vermeer-Center Delft.
Single donations can be made to the 'Stichting Vrienden van Vermeer' ('Foundation Friends of Vermeer'):
bank-account: 1468 423 32
IBAN: NL49 RABO 0146 8423 32
Rabobank, Netherlands

For those, who are interested in becoming a member of the 'Stichting Vrienden van Vermeer', please contact:

Ditte Mostert-van Bok
Happy Day Tours
Nieuwe Langendijk 42A
2611 VK Delft
tel: 31(0)152565306
fax: 31(0)847216561

All members of the foundation get free entrance to the Center, the "Nieuwsbrief" (newsletter, 2-3 times a year) with all news concerning the foundation and the Vermeer Center, as well as invitations to special activities of the Center.

It is also possible to make single donations to the new "Stichting Vermeer Centrum Delft":

bank-account 1371.97.373
IBAN: NL79RABO0137197373
Rabobank, Netherlands

Furthermore, the "Stichting Vermeer Centrum Delft" has established the so-called Club van 500. As the Center will still have to count with deficits in the next three or four years (especially for the fixed costs like rent, assurances, electricity, maintenance etc.) it needs special support in this time, until the Center is firmly established and has become a worldwide known attraction to all Vermeer-enthusiasts. Therefore the Center is looking for sponsors (companies, departments or private groups, in particular) who are willing to give a special support of 500,- Euro per year for the period of one to four years. Those, who are interested, please contact:

Wim Boelens, notary
postbus 2901
phone: +31-(0)15-2137050
fax: +31-(0)15-2137055

All members of this "Club van 500"' will be mentioned as sponsors on the website of the Vermeer Center ( Private members will get two personal entrance cards for free entrance to the Center for the duration of their membership. Companies who are members, can make free use of the hall in the 2nd floor once a year, depending on the length of their membership. For further information please contact Wim Boelens (see above). All members will receive a newsletter per e-mail with all new information concerning the Vermeer Center, as well as invitations to special activities of the Center. All your donations, whether small or large, are always warmly welcomed! With your help you will support an important and most attractive place for Johannes Vermeer in Delft! Thank you very much.


For those who are lucky enough to be visiting Delft (Vermeer's birthplace) it is now possible to get a spectacular view of this loveliest of Dutch cities from the newly restored municipal water tower. This news is of particular satisfaction for those poor souls who have ventured to climb up the stairs to the top of the Nieuwe Kerk to get a similar view. I did that once and am not sure I would face it again. The water tower has a convenient lift! In any case, you get to a fine view of both the Oude Kerk and the Nieuwe Kerk.

The opening hours are: Friday and Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. The visit of the roof-terrace costs 10 Euro, including coffee/tea and cake.


Understandably, tabloid news rarely concerns itself with the art of Vermeer except when for some odd reason the Delft Master crosses roads with someone who belongs to the sect of international stardom. Last December reports had it that ex-Beatle Paul McCarthy had suddenly become "obsessed" by Vermeer's Guitar Player. He evidently visited the Kenwood House (London) more than "ten times" to view the painting for "40 minutes at a time." Speculation has it that Mr. McCarthy was attempting to quell his depressive state presumably brought on by his matrimonial break-up.

As most of us know, Mr. McCarthy is widely renowned as a composer of some of the finest two-minute songs in pop music history as well as an accomplished bass-guitarist. A song like Penny Lane, written by McCarthy while the Beatles stood at their creative apex, is a true gem in the medium.

Personally I could not imagine a Vermeer composition more suited to Mr. McCarthy's character and profession and it may just be that, marriage crisis or not, he simply understood that it requires more than the 30 or so seconds which viewers usually dedicate to a painting which Vermeer may have labored months to make (in fact, after years of patient museum-going, I have noted that aside from me, it is indeed a rare occurrence that anyone stands company with Vermeer for more than five or ten minutes). So there you have it, Paul McCarthy finds it worthwhile to linger in front of a masterpiece of Western easel painting and that's news.

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