266 Korean curiosity

The Rembrandt year cannot be said to have impinged deeply on Korean society. But when Korean art historians and the Dutch business community were offered the opportunity to hear the latest news from Holland on the master, they and the media came in droves. Will Korean art, with so much older a tradition, ever command as much attention in the West? Continue reading “266 Korean curiosity”

265 Saving Savannah

As the story is now told, the decline of the 18th-century city of Savannah has been reversed by two events in the arts: the growth throughout the historic center of the Savannah College of Art and Design and the phenomenal success of the novel Midnight in the garden of good and evil by John Berendt. Schwartz hopes that art also has solutions for the problems created by the large-scale gentrification attending this development. Continue reading “265 Saving Savannah”

264 Were Dutch artists scientists?

In 1983 Svetlana Alpers proposed that Dutch artists, more than others in Europe, were fascinated by optical instruments such as the telescope and microscope. This hypothesis, which Schwartz always doubted, he now disputes with new evidence. The earliest documented depictions by artists of things that cannot be seen with the naked eye both date from 1623, and neither supports Alpers’s theory. Continue reading “264 Were Dutch artists scientists?”

262 Cultural asymmetry

If information and knowledge are the decisive factors in international competition, the days of the present dominance of the United States are numbered. The rest of the world knows so much more about Americans than they about non-Americans that the US is a sitting ducks for competitors. The attacks of 11 September 2001 were facilitated by cultural asymmetry. Continue reading “262 Cultural asymmetry”

260 Color printing and the international order

For thirty years a small network organization of publishers of illustrated non-fiction and art books has been meeting before the Frankfurt Book Fair to do deals of their own. The east-west group, called Motovun, had particular value during the Cold War. The trade in color printing in eastern Europe before the Wende was however not only collegial and commercial. It was also fed by the desperation of the Communist authorities to acquire western currency, to the point of selling out the interests of their own publishers. Continue reading “260 Color printing and the international order”

259 A buyer’s market in culture

The museums of Germany (and not only Germany) are experiencing a drastic decline in visits to the permanent collections of Old Masters. Only temporary exhibitions bring in visitors. Schwartz is afraid that museums may some day disband their galleries for old art. The 400th Rembrandt birthday installment of the Schwartzlist, with a link to a page on the presentation in the Rijksmuseum of Schwartz’s new book on Rembrandt. Continue reading “259 A buyer’s market in culture”

258 Seeing too much and too little

An exhibition of Rembrandt etchings, with a few drawings and paintings, in the National Museum of Art of Romania, is accompanied by a film of 1991 on the repair by the Dutch of two paintings damaged in the overthrow of Nicolae CeauÅŸescu in 1989. Another two were taken for restored and cleaned. Schwartz observes that basic facts about the painting cannot be seen with the naked eye. How can the museum visitor know when major interventions have been performed on a work of art? He can’t. Continue reading “258 Seeing too much and too little”

257 The Remonstrant Rembrandt

The indispensible Amsterdam archivist Bas Dudok van Heel, a friend for many years, finally got his Ph.D. Not all art historians were prepared to accept him as a colleague, despite his unending stream of publications on Dutch art and artists. Justice has been done with the award to him of a degree in art history. His dissertation is a collection of articles on Rembrandt, whom he places firmly in the camp of the dissident Remonstrant brotherhood. Continue reading “257 The Remonstrant Rembrandt”