The sale of a painting by Govert Flinck for a higher price than some Rembrandts have fetched in recent years prompts a reflection on the ongoing (and never-ending) revision of our scale of values. Continue reading “352 Up the Rembrandt school!”
On the 30th of September 1676 the Delft courts appointed Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek as curator to the insolvent estate of Catharina Bolnes, the widow of Johannes Vermeer. So great is the power of those two names that generations of art historians have interpreted the document as a sign of profound bonding between art and science. Schwartz, in the footsteps of Michael Montias, reveals the disenchanting truth.
In the splendid Antwerp specialty of kunstkamer painting, one painting and one alone migrated from one environment to another, from the patrician collection of Cornelis van der Geest to the fabled one of the archdukes of the southern Netherlands. Schwartz has an idea why. Continue reading “347 How a patrician made good for slighting a prince, maybe”
On Tuesday evening, 3 February 2015, a commuter train from Grand Central Station to Westchester County and Connecticut crashed into an automobile on a crossing in Valhalla, New York. Of the more than 600 passengers in the train, six in the first car were killed in a fire caused by the crash. Among them was Walter Liedtke, a friend and colleague of Gary Schwartz. With their first exchange of letters. Continue reading “338 The young Walter Liedtke”
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”
Cultural pessimists who are sure of the ongoing decline in our appreciation for art will have no choice, after reading Schwartzlist 321, but to change their tune if not their mind. Continue reading “321 Rembrandt, Rubens, the Beau Sancy and the Jew”
Pieter Saenredam documented his own art so well in inscriptions on his paintings and drawings that even lost work can often be identified. Now, however, a completely unknown composition has turned up, a view of the artist’s birthplace – even the house in which he grew up – in a touchingly personal painting. Continue reading “316 Pieter Saenredam comes home again (with Marten Jan Bok)”
Have you seen the announcement by the Van Gogh Museum that a painting in the museum that has generally been called a self-portrait of Vincent is actually a portrait by him of his brother Theo? Before you grant it your precious credence, see what Schwartz has to say. Continue reading “315 Theo in the picture”
Between the 1610s and 1650 an enchanting form of painting was produced in Antwerp and Antwerp alone: the kunstkamer painting, an evocation of an art collection in which actions of various kinds take place. Love of art is not the only kind of love expressed in these paintings. In one of the very earliest examples of the genre, Schwartz discovers conjugal and filial love as well as love for God. Continue reading “311 Love in the huiskamer”
Two exhibitions of Dutch genre paintings take competing approaches to the interpretation of these irresistible depictions of everyday life. One show, in Haarlem and Hamburg, interprets them as moral warnings to the viewer; another, in Rotterdam and Frankfurt, sees them as nothing more than fun subjects. Schwartz introduces into the discussion the ideas of the literary historian René van Stipriaan, whose theories about farces for the stage open new possibilities for interpreting paintings as well.