The Palace of the Academy in Brussels has a secret that was revealed in a magical moment to Schwartz in June 2006. It concerns the greatest princely collection of paintings ever assembled in the Netherlands. In anticipation of an exhibition devoted to that collection, Schwartz now discloses all. Below the line he appeals for a celebration of the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s abolition of reason. Continue reading “329 King Willem’s wall”
The finest private art collection ever assembled in the Netherlands stands to the credit of King Willem II, in the mid-19th century. How it was lost to the country is a story of monumental insensitivity and shortsightedness as well as sheer philistinism. Followed by an account of a mini-excursion in the Rhineland, undertaken to substitute for a real vacation in Burgundy. (August 2000) Continue reading “111 An inglorious anniversary”
From the proceedings of a symposium held at the university of Lille in 2008.
“J. van Beecq, Amsterdam marine painter, ‘the only one here [in France] who excels in this genre,’” in Les échanges artistiques entre les anciens Pay-Bas et la France, 1482-1814, ed. Gaëtane Maës and Jan Blanc, Turnhout (Brepols) 2010, pp. 15-32
Open pdf at 2010LilleSchwartzEchanges (59Mb)
A reconstruction of the career of a Dutch painter who is known only for work in England and France. An accomplished follower of Willem van de Velde the Younger, van Beecq started off on a highly promising career in France, but failed to establish there anything like the position of van de Velde in England and the Netherlands. The problem seems to have lain in deficient patronage, even though van Beecq had good connections and much to offer as an artistic adjunct to the French import of Dutch shipbuilders for its naval fleet.
Attempting to pay tribute to the supreme Frits Lugt and his Fondation Custodia and to protest the announced closing of the Institut Néerlandais with which it is joined, Schwartz sets out to describe one example of Lugt’s collecting genius and gets caught up in the subject. Read about two related drawings and a print by and after Constantijn van Renesse, the only Dutch artist of the 17th century from Schwartz’s adopted village of Maarssen. Continue reading “322 Sheer excellence”
“Constantijn Huygens in de kleine steene stadt Maarsseveen,” Historische Kring Maarssen 11 (1985), January 1985, pp. 42-43
Gary Schwartz, “Jan van der Heyden and the Huydecopers of Maarsseveen,” The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 11 (1983), pp. 197-220
The painting that is the subject of the article was de-accessioned by the Getty Museum and sold at auction in New York (Sotheby’s) on 25 January 2007. It was bought by Baron Willem van Dedem, a distinguished collector of Dutch and Flemish paintings. (Baron van Dedem died in November 2015.)
A fascinating and important painting on which Schwartz wrote a long article in the J. Paul Getty Museum Yearbook in 1983 was sold at auction by the museum in 2007. Schwartz worries about whether the art museums of the world take themselves sufficiently seriously as custodians of artistic heritage. Continue reading “304 De-accessioned”
400 years ago last January a precious gift from Bishop Bernard Maciejowski of Kraków reached Shah Abbas I of Persia. It was a magnificent picture Bible, apparently intended to warm Abbas’ heart for the Christian faith.The manuscript, now in the Morgan LIbrary, unites contributions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim civilization. As a talisman, it has not yet done its work.
Continue reading “292 The caress of civilizations”
An Australian-Dutch art historian who lives on Malta has produced a classic edition of one of the great cultural monuments of the island. Dane Munro’s book on the tombstone inscriptions of the Hospitaller knights of St. John is a book that transports you into another world – no, two other worlds.
Fleeing the offensive hypocrisy of the Olympics, Schwartz and Loekie travel to Wörlitz in Saxony-Anhalt, to the miraculous 18th-century Garden Kingdom of Prince Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817). There they discover that Wörlitz is touted as the place where the Olympic Games were first revived, in the 1770s. They keep their cool, and are rewarded, when they find the mysterious site, with an unforgettable experience.