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Essential Vermeer Newsletter no. 38

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June 2017

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Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

Vermeer and the Masters

17 June–17 September, 2017
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

This exhibition will explore the fascinating network of relationships between Vermeer and Dutch genre painters of the period 1650 to 1675, and will give visitors an insight into how Vermeer and his contemporaries admired, inspired and rivaled each other. Conceived by the National Gallery of Ireland, this exhibition will bring together some 60 paintings from around the world. As many as ten works by Vermeer will be included in the exhibition, which represents almost a third of Vermeer's surviving oeuvre and the third highest number of works by the artist ever assembled in the world.


The exhibition's curatorial team is comprised of Adriaan E. Waiboer, Curator of Northern European Art, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Curator of Northern Baroque Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington; and Blaise Ducos, Curator of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, Musée du Louvre, Paris.

The exhibition and accompanying catalogue benefits from an extensive research program, which will include a website currently under development in collaboration with the RKD. This website will chart and illustrate painters' responses to each other's stylistic and thematic innovations. Currently, already over 1,250 paintings are represented in the database RKDImages, which will be linked to each other on the basis of artistic relations, visualizing the exchange of artistic motives between the several artists. A technical research project, led by Melanie Gifford, Conservation Scientist at the National Gallery of Art, presently examines the exchanges of painting techniques and materials among Dutch genre painters of the period 1650–1675.

full Price: €15
concession: €10
children: Free
students (with valid ID): €5

early entry reduced ticket (Mon.–Fri. - 9.15 a.m. & 9.40 a.m. only): €10

late entry reduced ticket: (Mon.–Wed., & Fri. - 4.20 p.m. & 4.40 p.m. only): €10
Thurs. evening (5 pm–8.30 p.m. for all visitors): €10

full price ticket with catalogue: €42
concession price with catalogue: €37
advance ticket booking is now open: www.nationalgallery.ie
buy tickets here: https://nationalgallery.ticketsolve.com/shows/873572674/events/128047431

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Wiindow, Johannes VermeerGirl Reading a Letter by an Open Window
Johannes Vermeer
c. 1657–1659
Oil on canvas, 83 x 64.5 cm.
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden


Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window begins restoration

In March, 2017, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister of Dresden removed Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window from the permanent exhibition in order to begin the restoration of the picture. The procedure will accompanied by an expert commission of five restorers and scientists from Dresden, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Vienna. It is assumed that the restoration will last approximately one year.


National Gallery of Ireland logo

Four Vermeer-related lectures at the Dublin NGI

(ticket required)

Thursday, 15 June, 2017 (18:30)
"Johannes Vermeer: of his Time yet Timeless"
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art in, Washington, will discuss the Dutch Master from his vantage point as leading Vermeer expert.

duration: c. 50 minutes
tickets: €10

SOLD OUT - Thursday, 29 June, 2017 (18:30)
Credited with the renaissance of public interest in Vermeer, Tracy Chevalier, writer and author of Girl with a Pearl Earring will, join us to reveal her unique literary take on the master. She will be joined in conversation by Adriaan E. Waiboer, curator of the exhibition.
duration: c. 50 minutes
tickets: €10

Tuesday, June 22, 2017 (18:30)
"Dutch Dress in the Age of Vermeer" - Marieke de Winkel
Marieke de Winkel, Art historian and writer will explore the paintings of Vermeer from the point of view of a costume and dress historian.
duration: c. 50 minutes
tickets: €10

Thursday, 6 July, 2017(18:30)
"The Seductive Art of a Leiden Painter: Frans van Mieris"
Quentin Buvelot, the Senior Curator of the Mauritshuis will give a talk about one of the Netherlands chief painters in the time of Vermeer.
duration: c. 50 minutes
tickets: €10


Scholarly Vermeer-related conference

Saturday, September 9, 2017 (tickets required)

The National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) will host a scholarly conference in connection with the landmark exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry. As the originating institution of the exhibition, the NGI will bring together a panel of international speakers who will discuss different aspects of the fascinating network of relationships among Dutch genre painters of the period 1650–1675.

Junko Aono | Associate Professor, Kyushu University, Fukuoka
Ronn Baer, William and Ann Elfers | Senior Curator of European Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Piet Bakker | Art Historian, Technical University of Delft
Perry Chapman | Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Art History, University of Delaware
Melanie Gifford | Research Conservator for Painting Technology, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Lisha Glinsman | Conservation Scientist, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Angela Ho | Assistant Professor, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
John Loughman | Associate Professor, University College Dublin
Adriaan Waiboer | Head of Collections and Research, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

tickets available from 12 May, 2017 at https://nationalgallery.ticketsolve.com/shows/873573931


The Astronomer, Johannes VermeerThe Astronomer
Johannes Vermeer
Oil on canvas, 50 x 45 cm.
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Vermeer-related lecture

(in English, registration requested)
Thursday, August 24, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)
Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Steubenplatz 1, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany

"Johannes Vermeer, Cosimo III de' Medici, Nicolaas Heinsius the Elder and Adriaen van der Walle - 'The Geographer'" and 'The Astronomer' (1668–1669): A New Perspective"
by Dr. León Krempel

There is reason to assume that, on his travels through the Netherlands, the future Grand Duke of Tuscany most likely came into contact with Johannes Vermeer, although the diaries and letters edited by Hoogewerff provide no firm evidence in this regard. This thesis is supported by iconographical observations regarding the pair of paintings The Geographer and The Astronomer split between the Städel Museum in Frankfurt and the Louvre in Paris, by indications of their possible provenance from the collection of the neo-humanist Adriaen van der Walle as well as by chronological arguments. For the first time, two of the most fascinating pictures by the Delft master can be linked to a dedicatee.

register at: info@kunsthalle-darmstadt.de.


Video stream of Vermeer-related lecture

Using Computed Weave Maps to Gain Art-Historical Insight from Vermeer's Canvases
by Dr. C. Richard Johnson, Jr. (Cornell University)

The Thread Count Automation Project (TCAP) launched by Professor Johnson in 2007 discovered striped patterns in color-coded images of local thread densities obtained from digital image processing of x-radiographs of Old Master paintings on canvas. These striped patterns provide a "fingerprint" for pieces of canvas cut from the same roll. This spurred a four-year effort assisted by the late Walter Liedtke, one of the world's leading scholars of Dutch and Flemish paintings, to gather x-radiographs of all thirty-four paintings on canvas by Vermeer. Six matching pairs of roll-mates have been identified thus far that provide evidence regarding authentication, dating and —potentially—artistic intent. In addition to weave density maps, images were created of thread angle from their nominal horizontal and vertical directions. These angle maps provide forensic information regarding warp/weft thread designation and cusping, which offers insight into Vermeer's studio practice and the possible re-sizing of his paintings since their creation. In the lecture Professor Johnson explains discovered how it was discovered that four paintings by Vermeer were cut from the same bolt of canvas.


Vermeer's Signatures


facsimiles of Vermeer's signatures

The original Essential Vermeer website article about Vermeer's signatures has undergone a deep reedit and includes abundant additional information. One of the most important additions is set of black and white facsimiles of all of Vermeer's signature produced from, in all but a few cases, high resolution digital photographs.

Following a brief overall analysis of Vermeer's signatures, in which four types of signatures are identified, each of the 24 surviving signatures is accompanied by a technical description and all know related historical information.

The new set of facsimiles, which hopefully will replace the only set in circulation (made in 1920), elicits, perhaps, the chronological re-positioning of Vermeer's View of Delft. Also discussed are important stylistic anomalies present in three signatures which raise doubts as to their authenticity.


Vermeer-related website

Connect Vermeer

Connect Vermeer

from the website:
In conjunction with the Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry exhibitive, the Connect Vermeer website grew out of a research project conducted by the National Gallery of Ireland in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD). Through a series of interactive visualizations, Connect Vermeer allows users to discover the network of connections between Vermeer and his sixteen contemporaries. Users can discover the strength and likelihood of relationships between the seventeen artists, the impact of an individual artist's paintings on the work of his contemporaries, as well as how artists adopted, adapted and disguised elements, from their peers' work, in their own paintings.


Bermeer - Beyond Time

New vermeer documentary

Vermeer-Beyond Time

directors: Jean-Pierre Cottet & Guillaume Cottet
opening in Dublin on June 17, 2017 and runs through to September 17

A new feature documentary, Vermeer-Beyond Time, will be released in cinemas this month ahead of the major Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland which opens on June 17. French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Cottet adopts an imaginative and sensitive approach to his subject focusing on the work itself but also choosing to explore Vermeer's family life including his conversion to Catholicism, his artistic contemporaries and the wider world of the short-lived Dutch Golden Age of the 17th Century.

RTÉ will screen the documentary in early June. After this, the DVD will be available for purchase. More details about the screenings and sales points for the DVD to follow.


Vermeer reward doubled, and perhaps a new lead to solve the Stewart Gardner heist

drawn from Artnetnews - "The Gardner Museum Doubles Reward to Solve Biggest Art Heist in History"
by Eileen Kinsella, May 24, 2017

Twenty-five years after the robbery—and years of false leads, the Stewart Gardner Museum recently doubled the reward in an effort to solve biggest art heist in history, in which Vermeer's The Concert was stolen. This may suggest that the investigation is still active. Moreover, the increase coincides with the arrest Todd Andrew Desper for having fraudulently "offered" for sale Vermeer's painting, for $50 million online. Desper used Craigslist, encrypted email, with the alias "Mordokwan," to post the announcement. The Stewart Gardner Museum holds that there is no connection between attempted caper and the reward increase, which came "as a result of a vote at a prescheduled annual board meeting."

from Bloomberg: June 20, 2017 - "Cracking the Biggest Art Heist in History"
by Nina Siegal

Arthur Brand, a Dutch private investigator, however, believes that not only are the artworks still intact, but also that he can bring them home. This year.

"It's almost certain that the pieces still exist," Brand told me. "We are following two leads that both go to the Netherlands, and we are now negotiating with certain people."

Brand, 47, has become one of the world's leading experts in international art crimes. A British newspaper once called him the "Indiana Jones of the art world" for his combination of crack negotiating skills and uncanny instincts for finding stolen art.

In the past few years, Brand has posed as the agent of a Texas oil millionaire to help Berlin police find two enormous bronze horses from the German Reichstag. He worked with Ukrainian militia members to secure the return of five stolen Dutch masters to the Westfries Museum in the Netherlands. He negotiated with two criminal gangs for the successful return of a Salvador Dali and a painting by Tamara de Lempicka, together valued at about $25 million, to the now-closed Scheringa Museum of Realist Art, also in the Netherlands.

Brand acts as something of a liaison between criminals and the police. Controversially, he'll try to make deals that allow the culprits to go free, because he says his primary goal is saving the art from the trash heap.

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