Posts Tagged ‘Young Woman Seated at the Virginals’

Young Woman Seated at the Virginals exhibition at Philadelphia Museum of Art extended to September 30

June 17th, 2014

Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at the Virginals
Philadelphia Museuym of Art
October 26, 2013 – September 30, 2014

from the museum website:
Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at the Virginals will be joined by two additional loans from the Leiden Collection: Frans Hals’s Portrait of Samuel Ampzing and The Coat of Many Colors attributed to Rembrandt’s pupil Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. All three paintings are on view in the galleries of European art 1500–1850 on the second floor, in the company of a selection of the Museum’s own paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. The Museum possesses more than three hundred seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, the largest collection of its kind in North America.

For further in formation, click here.

exhibition curator:
Christopher Atkins, Associate Curator of European Painting & Sculpture

Vermeer on exhibit in Philadelphia

November 18th, 2013
rolin-face

Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal
Philadelphia Museum of Art
October 26, 2013 – March 2014
curator:
Christopher Atkins, Associate Curator of European Painting & Sculpture
location:
Gallery 264, second floor

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will exhibit the Young Woman Seated at a Virginal until March on loan from the private Leiden Collection. Since the work, the only private collector other than the Queen to possess a painting by Vermeer, was acquired by it present owner, it has become a veritable globe trotter being shown. The list below traces the painting’s traverses from its discover to today. Only during the last decade, since the picture was brought back into contact with the scholarly community, has it been examined seriously. Now, after more than 10 years of extensive research by a team of leading scholars, the painting has now been proposed as a secure addition to Vermeer’s limited oeuvre.

  • The Young Woman Seated at a Virginal is presumable painted by Vermeer, c. 1670.
  • The picture is documented for the first time in 1904, when it was published in the preliminary catalogue by Wilhelm von Bode of the collection of Alfred Beit, a South African-born diamond magnate who rivaled the great early 20th-century art acquisitions of Americans such as Frick and Mellon.
  • Before and during the World War II, it is unanimously recognized by scholars, including Hofstede de Groot, Ary de Vries, Eduard Plietzsch and Ludwig Goldscheider.
  • Following the dramatic Van Meegeren affair of Vermeer forgeries, De Vries, the Director of the Rijksmuseum and leading Vermeer scholar, expresses doubts about the authenticity of the picture published in 1948. De Vries changes his mind, in favor of the painting, and writes several letters saying that if his book were to go into a third edition he would rehabilitate the picture.
  • When Beit dies, the picture passes to his brother, Otto Beit, and then to the latter’s son, Sir Alfred Beit, who eventually, in 1960, places the picture on consignment with a London dealer.
  • Baron Frédéric Rolin of Brussels, an occasional collector of Old Masters and dealer in tribal art, sees it and falls immediately in love with. Aware of the doubtful attribution to Vermeer, he acquires it in exchange four works from his collection, paintings by Klee, Signac, Bonnard and Riopelle.
  • Lawrence Gowing (1970) and Christopher Wright (1976) continue to accept it, but others remain skeptical.
  • In 1993, the auction house Sotheby’s is approached by Baron Rolin, with a request to undertake new research on the painting.
  • A complete scientific study is begun in 1995 by Libby Sheldon of University College London, in collaboration with her colleague Catherine Hassall, and in 1997 Nicola Costaras of the Victoria and Albert Museum joins this team. The investigation demonstrates that the picture os unquestionably 17th-century in origin and also that its technical composition is consistent with Vermeer’s known working methods. In particular, the composition of the ground layers is found to be entirely comparable with other works by the artist, and the pigments used were also appropriate.
  • Rolin dies in 2002, and the painting is offered for sale by his heirs.
  • On July 7, 2004, Sotheby’s auctions the painting to an unknown bidder for $30 million, many times more than the London auction house’s estimate of $5.4 million.
  • Two days later, the British art critic Brian Sewell rejected the painting peremptorily in a scathing article describing it as “so damaged and abraded that only modern restoration makes it fit to see” and that the picture will join the many twentieth-century “false attributions and downright forgeries enthusiastically attested by the experts of the day as an object of derision—£16.2 million is monumental proof of folly, not authenticity.”
  • The painting is shown briefly at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (11 August 2004 – 1 March 2005).
  • The buyer finally turns out to be the number-one suspect, Steve Wynn, the immensely rich (as of March 2012, Wynn is the 491st richest man in the world with a net worth of $2.5 billion) Las Vegas casino mogul and art collector.
  • The painting disappears in Wynn’s main office.
  • In 2008, the maverick art historian Benjamin Binstock declared that the Rolin work, along with other five Vermeers, had been painted by Maria Vermeer, the artist’s daughter and “secret apprentice.” Binstock bases his maverick hypothesis on perceived inconsistencies in technique, materials, artistic level of the Rolin and other six works, and on a systematic account of Vermeer’s family members as models.
  • In the same year, 2008, Walter Liedtke formally enlisted the Rolin picture as Vermeer’s 36th work in a complete catalogue of the artist’s paintings. The savvy Vermeer expert begins the catalogue essay stating that there exist “compelling reasons to accept this small picture as a late work by Vermeer.”
  • It is exhibited in Tokyo along with other 6 other Vermeer’s from August 2 – December 14, 2008 (190-192, no. 31 and ill).
  • On October 26, 2008, Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the painting is sold by Wynn to an unknown buyer for $30 million.
  • The buyer is identified as a New York art collector and dealer in Dutch art.
  • The painting raises its head on Dec. 29, 2009, in Gallery 14A in the European paintings galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, It is labeled as from a “Private Collection” and is on view until June.
  • It is shown a in Norfolk, Virginia 1 June 2010 – 1 January, 2011 at the Chrysler Museum of Art.
  • It is shown in Cambridge, England, 5 October, 2011 – 15 January, 2012, at the Vermeer’s Women: Secrets and Silence exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum (no. 28 and ill.).
  • It is shown in Rome, 27 September, 2012 – 20 January, 2013at the Vermeer. Il secolo d’oro dell’arte olandese at the Scuderie del Quirinale. (220, no. 51 and ill.).
  • It is shown in London, 26 June “8 September, 2013, at theVermeer and Music: Love and Leisure in the Dutch Golden Age exhibition.

Looking again

April 6th, 2013
vermeer_meegeren

This side-by-side comparison of a fake Vermeer (right) and the detail of the Young Lady Seated at a Virginal (left) begs to be addressed. Notwithstanding that the latter has been accepted by important critics as an authentic work by Vermeer (it had languished in critical limbo for decades), many lay viewers find the Young Lady Seated at a Virginal a perplexing picture.

Had not a scientific committee established that the Young Lady Seated at a Virginal executed with materials and methods compatible with those used by Vermeer and some seventeenth-century Dutch painters, the work’s ideation might recall those of various twentieth-century Vermeer forgeries.

In these works, the forger reiterated a familiar Vermeer theme with a single figure surrounded by a few objects cherry picked from other pictures by the Delft master. In a sort of cat and mouse game, he occasionally flipped his copy-and-paste motifs left to right to make his plundering less evident. The final, uncomplicated whole was sprinkled with Vermeer’s mannerist touches which, however, fail to partake in the painting’s expressive fabric. No signature was added to the canvas knowing that it might raise more suspicion than approval. This reductionist strategy exploits the “simple” figure-against-blank-background motif of Vermeer’s authentic Lacemaker on a technically manageable scale contemporarily allowing the forger to evade direct competition with a genius on his favorite terrain: refined planimetric organization and the evocation of meaningful spatial depth.

The curious, naïve flavor—to post-Van Meegeren eyes at least—which characterizes these forgeries owes not to anything good in the forger’s heart but to the oversimplification to which he is constrained in order to mask his technical and organizational inadequacies. His malicious plan, then, was to cast a few tasty morsels of Vermeeresque bait and keep his bad cards as close to the vest as possible.

Do you think the Young Lady Seated at a Virginal is a Vermeer or or not, or just don’t know? Make your though known  on the poll on the sidebar to the right.

Vermeer in Italy: the numbers

April 1st, 2013

Having lived and worked in Italy for decades, I was pretty sure that the Vermeer: Il secolo d’oro dell’arte olandese would not likely to set a raging fire among art goers.

The exhibit, with 8 Vermeers (6 authentic by my count), brought in 307.971 visitors. Mind you, that’s not a number to be to be scoffed at, but the show placed fourth in 2012 Italian art exhibitions even though it was by far the largest Vermeer exhibit ever to be held on the peninsula, and it was much publicized to boot.

vermeer_in_rome_LARGE

The 2012 Tokyo leg of the Masterpieces from the Mauritshuis exhibit—with Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring as the absolute star—racked up 758,26 visitors. But Japan, everybody knows, is definitely Vermeer territory and Italians are not lacking in great painters of their own.

As usual , panic artists , 14,000 strong, crowded the final day of the show. On packed days, a pocket-sized painting like to Girl with a Red Hat was for all practical purpose invisible. For my take why Italians don’t quite get this strange artist, scroll down and see post below.

If you are a numbers person, click here to access a sortable table of ALL the Vermeer exhibitions ever held. You won’t find all this information on one page anywhere else.

Vermeer Lectures in Cambridge for Vermeer’s Women exhibition

October 16th, 2011

The Fitzwilliman Museum offers  a series of free public lectures to accompany the exquisite exhibition that features four Vermeer paintings including the masterful Music Lesson (rarely on public display) and the Louvre Lacemaker.

All talks are on Friday, 13:15 – 14:00

28 October-2011
Love for sale in the 17th century: Secrets of the oldest profession.
Colin Wiggins, The National Gallery

18 Novermber-2011
The Rediscovery of Vermeer and the reception of genre painting.
Dr Merideth Hale, History of Art Deprartment, University of Cambridge

Vermeer’s Women exhibition catalogue

October 15th, 2011

Vermeer’s Women: Secrets and Silence
by Marjorie E. Wieseman, Mr. Wayne Franits & H. Perry Chapman
2011
224 pages, Yale University Press

product description from Amazon.com:

Focusing on the extraordinary Lacemaker from the Musée du Louvre, this beautiful book investigates the subtle and enigmatic paintings by Johannes Vermeer that celebrate the intimacy of the Dutch household. Moments frozen in paint that reveal young women sewing, reading or playing musical instruments, captured in Vermeer’s uniquely luminous style, recreate a silent and often mysterious domestic realm, closed to the outside world, and inhabited almost exclusively by women and children.

Three internationally recognized experts in the field explain why women engaged in mundane domestic tasks, or in pleasurable pastimes such as music making, writing letters, or adjusting their toilette, comprise some of the most popular Dutch paintings of the seventeenth century. Among the most intriguing of these compositions are those that consciously avoid any engagement with the viewer. Rather than acknowledging our presence, figures avert their gazes or turn their backs upon us; they stare moodily into space or focus intently on the activities at hand. In viewing these paintings, we have the impression that we have stumbled upon a private world kept hidden from casual regard.

The ravishingly beautiful paintings of Vermeer are perhaps the most poetic evocations of this secretive world, but other Dutch painters sought to imbue simple domestic scenes with an air of silent mystery, and the book also features works by some of the most important masters of 17th-century Dutch genre painting, among them Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Maes, and Jan Steen.

Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at the Virginals stays put in Virginia until the end of 2010

August 18th, 2010

The temporary stay of the Young Woman Seated at a Virginal at the Norfolk Chrysler Museum of Art has been prolonged to 1 January, 2011.

This mysterious little Vermeer, the only one in hands of a private collector, has still not received the critical scrutiny it deserves although authoritative Vermeer experts Walter Liedtke and Arthur Wheelock have both given the painting their blessings.

True, no one has ever singled it as one of the most appealing of Vermeer’s works but not all Vermeer’s are appealing, especially to the public. In a recent visit to the London National Gallery, I had the Woman Seated at the Virginal, in essence, a bigger and more complicated version of the work at the Chrysler, pretty much for myself. Despite the conspicuous volume of literature dedicated to it, which supposes just about everything and its contrary, not a single person who entered the gallery room cast more than a glance at it before moving to the next work even if they had bent forward to read the museum description plaque and had noticed the name Vermeer.

Teresa Annas takes an interesting look at the behind the scenes regarding the picture now at the Chrysler Museum in her online article of August 8 in The Virginian-Pilot.

Vermeer visits Northfolk

April 13th, 2010

Vermeer’s miniscule Young Woman Seated at a Virginal will be temporarily exhibited at it Chrysler Museum of Art, in Norfolk, Virginia from 1 June 2010 – 1 September 2010. News on programming related to the work will be reported here as they become available.

An iPhoned Vermeer

March 29th, 2009
iphonemet

One of the paybacks of 9+ years of making the Essential Vermeer website is the constant influx of correspondence. Scholars and specialists inform me of their thoughts and writings, museums directors about their exhibitions and web initiatives. I receive suggestions, constructive criticism, books, articles and even proposals for collaboration from all over the globe.

Alongside public figures, there are people whose names I did not know who generously express their opinions and raise questions on about every facet of Vermeer and web publishing one could imagine. They send me images of their own paintings or a dusty canvas found in the attic hoping it’s  a Vermeer, posters, postcards, poetry and every now and then, a donation to keep the site going and growing.

The other day, a friend of the Essential Vermeer, Drew, established an absolute first.  After some email correspondence about his Vermeer travels and the newly attributed Young Woman Seated at a Virginal which just popped up at the MET, Drew went to view the work directly. He  pulled out his iPhone, snapped a digital photo and emailed it to me as he was standing in front of the painting.

Sometimes I wonder.

What would Vermeer have said about someone blasting an iPhone image of his painting instantaneously from one part of the globe to another he had never met? How would have he reacted if he new some of his 36 surviving works fly on jumbo-jets over oceans, mountain ranges and the Siberian tundra to be ogled by thousands of viewers who spend hours in line at exhibitions dedicated to his art in places called museums?  What would have he though if he could thumb through the lavish, band-new Vermeer: The Complete Paintings written by Vermeer specialist Walter Liedtke?

In my opinion Vermeer would have taken in all the technology with an wide, wide grin.  He would have loved the stuff. And he would have been delighted although sometimes puzzled at what has been written about himself and his work. Perhaps he would have needed a bit more time to comprehend how many people on the earth are knit together by his tiny canvases.

The MET shows a 6th Vermeer

January 9th, 2009

After its zigzag performance, the Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, reattributed in recent times to Vermeer, has bobbed up again in an unexpected place, next to the Woman with a Water Pitcher at the MET.

With the help of Lee Rosenbaum’s timely reporting on CultureGRll (artsJournal) and some detective work of my own, let’s take a  look at the painting’s history.

  • The Young Woman Seated at a Virginal is presumabley painted by Vermeer c. 1670.
  • The picture is documented for the first time in 1904, when it was published in the preliminary catalogue by Dr. Wilhelm Bode of the collection of Alfred Beit, a South African-born diamond magnate who rivaled the great early 20th-century art acquisitions of Americans such as Frick and Mellon.
  • Before and during the World War II, it was unanimously recognized by scholars, including Wilhelm Bode, Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, A.B. de Vries, Eduard Plietzsch and Ludwig Goldscheider.
  • Following the dramatic Van Meegeren affair of Vermeer forgeries, De Vries, the Director of the Rijksmuseum, the leadingVermeer scholar, expressed doubts about the authenticity of the picture published in 1948. De Vries changed his mind, in favor of the painting, and wrote several letters saying that if his book were to go into a third edition he would rehabilitate the picture.
  • When Beit died, the picture passed to his brother, Otto Beit, and then the latter’s son, Sir Alfred Beit, who eventually, in 1960, placed the picture on consignment with a London dealer.
  • Baron Frédéric Rolin of Brussels, an occasional collector of Old Masters and dealer in tribal art, sees and falls in love with it. Aware of the doubtful attribution to Vermeer, he acquired it in exchange four works from his collection, paintings by Klee, Signac, Bonnard and Riopelle.
  • Lawrence Gowing (1970) and Christopher Wright (1976) continued to accept it, but others dismissed it.
  • In 1993, Sotheby’s was approached by Baron Rolin, with a request to undertake new research on the painting.
  • A complete scientific study was begun in 1995 by Libby Sheldon of University College London, in collaboration with her colleague Catherine Hassall, and in 1997 Nicola Costaras of the Victoria and Albert Museum joined this team.. The investigation demonstrated that the picture was unquestionably 17th-century and that also that its technical composition was entirely consistent with Vermeer’s known working methods. In particular, the composition of the ground layers was found to be entirely comparable with other works by the artist, and the pigments used were also appropriate.
  • Rolin dies in 2002, and the painting is offered for sale by his heirs.
  • Sotheby’s auctions the painting to an unknown bidder for $30 million.
  • The painting is shown briefly at the Philadelphia Museum. The buyer finally turns out to be the number one suspect, Steve Wynn the Las Vegas casino mogul and art collector.
  • The painting disappears in Wynn’s main office.
  • It is exhibited in Tokyo along with other 6 other Vermeer’s from August 2 – December 14, 2008.
  • Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the painting was sold by Wynn to an unknown buyer for $30 million.
  • The painting raises its head for the last time on Dec. 29 in Gallery 14A of the European paintings galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, It is labeled as from a “Private Collection.” It will be on view until June 1.