Terms of reception: Europeans and Persians and each other’s art

From Mediating Netherlandish art and material culture in Asia, edited by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann and Michael North, published by Amsterdam University Press, distributed in US by University of Chicago Press, 2014

From University of Chicago Press website (with more information on the book): “Scholars have extensively documented the historical and socioeconomic impact of the Dutch East India Company. They have paid much less attention to the company’s significant influence on Asian art and visual culture.

“Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia addresses this imbalance with a wide range of contributions covering such topics as Dutch and Chinese art in colonial and indigenous households; the rise of Hollandmania in Japan; and the Dutch painters who worked at the court of the Persian shahs. Together, the contributors shed new light on seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture—and the company that spread it across Asia.”

Open (large) pdf (60Mb)

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How Vermeer and his generation stole the thunder of the Golden Age

From the perspective of the year 1650, the past and future of Dutch seventeenth-century painting look radically different from each other. The first half of the century was dominated by participants in the greater European school, with narrative histories and allegories as the most highly prized creations. After 1650 the field is taken over by landscape and townscape, still life and genre. These were less valuable in the marketplace and helped depress the incomes of artists who were already suffering from a shrinking market for their wares. Our picture of the Dutch Golden Age is unduly determined by niche products of the latter half of the century, especially the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, who was virtually unknown until the latter nineteenth century. By forefronting Vermeer and his generation, we adopt a distorted view of the Dutch seventeenth century and its place in Europe, a view that plays into present-day political misunderstandings of where the Netherlands stands in the world.

This phenomenon was demonstrated and discussed by Gary Schwartz in the 32nd Uhlenbeck Lecture, held for the NIAS Fellows Association on 23 June 2014. NIAS is the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

See the pdf (1.37 mB) at 32ndUhlenbeckLectureNIAS20140623_Gary Schwartz

A corpus of Rembrandt paintings as a test case for connoisseurship

From the proceedings of a congress held at the Ecole du Louvre on 21-23 October 2011Couv Connoisseurship

Connoisseurship: l’oeil, la raison et l’instrument, ed. Patrick Michel, Paris (Ecole du Louvre) 2014, pp. 229-37.

Open pdf (663 kB) at Connoisseurship Schwartz

The Rembrandt Research Project had everything going for it when it set out in 1968 to examine the authorship of all the paintings seriously attributed to the master. However, by 1991, after publishing three massive volumes covering half of Rembrandt’s career,  it ran out of steam and four of the five members quit the project. The remaining member, Ernst van de Wetering, took it over, admitting that vols. 1-3 were a failure. Schwartz asks why and suggests that the fault lay less with the members of the project than with the impossible pretensions of connoisseurship itself.

“J. van Beecq, Amsterdam marine painter, ‘the only one here [in France] who excels in this genre’”

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.

The lost portrait oeuvre of Gerard Pietersz. Zijl, from the tribute volume to Rudi Ekkart

Gary Schwartz, “Gerard Pietersz. van Zijl the portraitist: a ghost story,” in Facebook: studies on Dutch and Flemish portraiture of the 16th-18th centuries, Liber amicorum presented to Rudolf E.O. Ekkart on the occasion of his 65th birthday, Leiden (Primavera Pers) and The Hague (Netherlands Institute for Art History [RKD]) 2012, pp. 301-10

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With Emanuel de Witte in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam: from the tribute volume to Ildikó Ember

Gary Schwartz, “With Emanuel de Witte in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam,” Geest en gratie: essays presented to Ildikó Ember on her seventieth birthday, Budapest (Szépmüvészeti Múzeum) 2012, pp. 84-91

The photographs of the Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk were taken in spring 2012 by Piet Musters.

Open pdf (18.4 Mb)