Monday, December 19, 2016

The Frick Collection's Vermeers

The comparatively small -- but excellent -- Frick Collection in New York City has nearly ten percent of existing paintings by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675), Wikipedia entry here.

Wikipedia also has a list of his works (here) that contains links to images. According to the entry, there are 34 paintings currently considered actual Vermeer works. The Frick Collection has three of these. Other "large" Vermeer collections are: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (4); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (4); National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (3); and Mauritshuis, The Hague (3). So the Frick punches far above its weight in this regard.

I visited the Frick Collection in September, the first time there in many years. Here are its Vermeers.


De Soldaat en het Lachende Meisje (Officer and a Laughing Girl) - 1655-1660, acquired 1911
The Frick web page for this painting is here.

Mistress and Maid - c. 1667, acquired 1919
Frick page for this one is here.

Girl Interrupted at her Music - 1658-59 or 1660-61, acquired 1901
Frick information here.
Even though this is considered a genuine Vermeer, I have trouble believing it. That's because of the treatment of the people is not as polished as in other Vermeer paintings. Yes, the setting is typical with a window at the left and a map as background. And surely the paints and canvas were tested and found to be mid-17th century. If this is indeed by Vermeer, then I wonder if he was experimenting with a slightly different style of painting people, or perhaps the painting is unfinished.

1 comment:

Paul Sullivan said...

Your Vermeer post is another excellent addition to your ongoing blog. Through the years, I've enjoyed telling people that Vermeer was the only artist slower than me. If nothing else, it was a nice way of referring to Vermeer and myself in the same sentence.

The Vermeer that I think is one of the most outstanding paintings of that era is "Girl With a Red Hat". I think the painting is a definite stroke of genius. It captures a fleeting moment in time. It looks more like something from Degas or one of the impressionists hundreds of years later. If I had to pick five of my favorite paintings of all time—our gal in the red hat would be one of them. Check out the soft focus background—and that expression! Either she is flirting with us or she's saying, "Whaa..You gotta be kidden!"