The Private World of Vermeer
The Timken Museum, San Diego CA
May 14 – Sept. 11, 2015
The Timken Museum of Art will exhibit one of the finest works by Vermeer from May 14 through Sept. 11, 2015. The exhibition, The Private World of Vermeer, showcases his masterpiece, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. This generous loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam marks the first appearance of this remarkable painting in San Diego. The Timken’s special installation allows visitors to have an intimate experience with Woman in Blue Reading a Letter and highlights one of the most celebrated painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
The four-month exhibition also features a variety of events, which include noted scholars on Vermeer. Many of the events are free to the public and are designed to give guests an enhanced understanding of the Vermeer and other masterpieces in the Timken’s collection:
1. Guest Lecture
“Extraordinary Observation: Vermeer’s Woman in Blue”
speaker: Anne Woollett (curator, department of paintings, J. Paul Getty Museum)
Monday, May 18 at 10 a.m.
In its compositional refinement and visual impact, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter represents a turning point in Vermeer’s career. This lecture considers Vermeer’s signature approach—its rapid development in previous works, and the sophisticated handling of space and light in this work and the so-called “pearl pictures.”
Anne Woollett is curator at the department of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. She specializes in northern European painting before 1800, and is currently working on a catalogue the Getty’s Flemish paintings.
2. Art in the Evening Lecture and Reception
speaker: Arthur K. Wheelock, curator of Northern Baroque painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m.
admission: $35 member / $45 non-member
Arthur K. Wheelock is the curator of Northern Baroque painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and author of the 1995 publication Vermeer and the Art of Painting. He is one of the most prolific writers on Vermeer and offers numerous insights linking painting techniques and artistry.
3. Guest Lecture
“Vermeer’s Time: The Woman in Blue”
speaker: Ann Jensen Adams (professor, UC Santa Barbara)
Monday, June 8 at 10 a.m.
Vermeer’s paintings of figures engaged in quiet activities are masterpieces of silence. They have also been described as “stilled lives.”This lecture discusses Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter in relation to contemporaneous concerns about the passage of time, and its measurement.
Ann Jensen Adams is a professor and graduate advisor at UC Santa Barbara, department of the history of art and architecture. Her research includes 17th-century Dutch art, particularly portraiture, and the impact upon imagery of early modern developments in natural history.
4. Free Family Fun
Tall Tales at the Timken
Saturday, June 13 at 11 a.m
speaker: Harlynne Geisler .
Bring your kids to explore Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. Professional storyteller Harlynne Geisler will weave fanciful tales around this masterwork that was created 350 years ago. Ages 5+ are welcome. No reservations required.
5. Art in the Afternoon Gallery Talk
“The Unseen Window in Vermeer’s “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter”
Wednesday, June 24 at 12:30 p.m.
speaker: Karen Hellman (assistant curator, department of photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum)
Although the canvases of Vermeer were created two centuries prior to the invention of photography, their quiet, luminous depictions of interior scenes have often been related to “photographic” qualities. This presentation discusses a few ways in which photography can offer a new lens through which to view Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.
Karen Hellman is an assistant curator in the department of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is the curator of the exhibitions, “In Focus: Picturing Landscape” (2012), “At the Window: The Photographer’s View” (2013), and “In Focus: Ansel Adams” (2014). Currently she is working on a forthcoming exhibition “In Focus: Daguerreotypes” (fall 2015). She received her master’s in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, in 2004, and she received her doctorate in art history from The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, in 2010.
6. Art in the Afternoon Gallery Talk
“Discordant Serenity and the Painting of Vermeer”
Wednesday, July 1 at 12:30 p.m.
speaker: Claudine Dixon (curatorial administrator, prints and drawings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter will be discussed in the context of some of the historical and contemporary events surrounding the painting and its fantastic journey from 17th century Delft in the Netherlands to recent visits to Southern California. The writings of various authors, including essayist Lawrence Weschler and poet W. H. Auden, offer variant paths to consider thoughts and musings about history and art, allowing us to look at our relationship to this picture and think about a perspective that lies beyond the painted surface.
Claudine Dixon is the curatorial administrator for the department of prints and drawings at the LACMA. Before joining LACMA, Claudine worked at the UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum. In addition to museum positions, she has taught art history courses for UCLA Extension, most notably on German art of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Rembrandt and Dutch art of the 17th century.
7. Guest Lecture
“The Interior Life of Vermeer”
Monday, July 13 at 10 a.m.
Amy Walsh (curator of European paintings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Gallery talks feature leading curators, historians, scholars, and artists. Guests will walk, talk, and explore the Timken collection and special exhibitions. Registration is not required.
For more events and details about The Private World of Vermeer, visit the website at www.timkenmuseum.org or call (619) 239-5548.
About the Timken Museum of Art
Known as one of the finest small museums in the world, the Timken Museum of Art celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, and provides visitors with an accessible and enriching cultural experience featuring a beautiful collection, intimate surroundings, and free admission.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays, noon to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays. For more information, visit http://www.timkenmuseum.org. Follow the museum on Facebook or Twitter at @TimkenArtMuseum or call (619) 239-5548.