The exhibition, which has seen record numbers at the Paris venue and complimentary reviews in the international media, opens in the National Gallery of Ireland on Saturday 17 June and runs through to 17 September. It will be the major Old Master exhibition in Europe this summer coinciding with the reopening of the Gallery’s refurbished historic wings and new display of the permanent collection.
Conceived by the National Gallery of Ireland, this revelatory exhibition celebrates the work of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) and will give new insights into the relationships the artist maintained with other great painters of the Dutch Golden Age. It will bring together some 60 paintings from major public and private collections around the world. Ten masterpieces by Vermeer will be included representing nearly a third of the artist’s surviving works and the third highest number of works by Vermeer ever assembled.
The National Gallery of Ireland’s own Vermeer, Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid, c.1670, which is regarded as one of the artist’s finest works, will be shown alongside other exquisite compositions including Woman with a Balance, c.1663–4 (National Gallery of Art, Washington); Woman with a Pearl Necklace, 1663–4 (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin); The Astronomer, 1668 (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and The Geographer, 1669 (Städel Museum, Frankfurt). Paintings of daily life by contemporaries of Vermeer, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu, Pieter de Hooch and Frans van Mieris, will also feature.
Dr Adriaan Waiboer, Head of Collections and Research at the National Gallery of Ireland, and curator of the exhibition, says:
“Johannes Vermeer is frequently portrayed as an enigmatic figure working largely in isolation, but this exhibition clearly demonstrates how Vermeer’s subjects, compositions and figure types owe much to works by contemporary Dutch artists, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch and Frans van Mieris, all of whom were more successful and influential in their time.”
The exhibition brings together groups of paintings of domestic scenes – letter writing, in front of a mirror, musical scenes – and the obvious similarity of the compositions shows the interplay between artists – nonetheless Vermeer’s brilliance and originality brings new heights to the subjects and his work takes genre painting to a yet higher level.
An accompanying catalogue to the exhibition is published by Yale University Press. Edited by Adriaan E. Waiboer with contributions by, among others, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr, Blaise Ducos, Eric Jan Sluijter, Marjorie E. Wieseman and Quentin Buvelot. Price €29.95pb.
Taking place alongside the exhibition will be a summer-long public engagement programme at the Gallery, comprising special Thursday evening talks on Vermeer by writers and artists, as well as weekly tours, drawing workshops and film screenings.
Also, a dedicated website dedicated website, ConnectVermeer (live from June 2017) has been
developed in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) The Hague, and will serve as an interactive platform on Vermeer and Dutch genre painters.
A documentary film, ‘Vermeer: Beyond Time’ will be released in May 2017 as one of the events associated with the exhibition. Directed by Jean-Pierre Cottet and produced by James Mitchell, a co-production between Martange Production (Paris), Soho Moon Pictures (Dublin), Arté France and the Louvre. The film will also broadcast on RTE TV1 to coincide with the exhibition in Dublin in June.