The largest collection of Johannes Vermeer paintings will go on show from February 10th until June 4th 2023. Curators have called it the “chance of a lifetime” to see this many Vermeer works in place.
28 of his only 35 pieces that currently exist will go on show making it the largest exhibition of Vermeer paintings ever staged and is highly unlikely they will ever be assembled in one place again.
Vermeer, born in 1632, is one of the most famous painters of the 17th century, but little of him was left behind due to him converting to Catholicism in a majority protestant country.
Many questions of his life still remain. He died in debt aged 43 in 1675, with his paintings usually depicting everyday Dutch life in the 17th century with dark isolated scenes.
Gregor Weber, who is the head of the Rijksmuseum’s fine arts department said “for me personally Vermeer is one of the greatest artists in the world… to have three quarters of his oeuvre together here in Amsterdam under one roof is the crown of my work.”
Worldwide museums to lend paintings.
Museums and private owners have lent paintings for the exhibition’s duration. London’s National Gallery have sent Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, the Louvre in Paris have sent The Lacemaker, and the National Gallery in Dublin have sent Woman Writing a Letter With Her Maid to be displayed.
Due to the age of the paintings and their extremely high value, the paintings rarely travel, becoming prize possessions of the museums that hold them. The pieces being sent were completed between 1655 and 1670, adding to the extremely high value.
“This is an artist who produced 45, maybe 50, paintings. We know 37 of them and to get 28 together…” Taco Dibbits, the Rijksmuseum’s general director has said.
Seven of the pieces on show at the exhibition have never been shown to the Dutch public before.
Only nine known Vermeer works will be missing from the exhibition. One of which had been stolen in 1990 in Boston, one from the Louvre is already out on loan and two from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art cannot be lent due to the terms of their bequest. The rest of the paintings are too fragile to travel to the Netherlands.
The Rijksmuseum owns four Vermeer pieces including the world-famous painting Milkmaid and The Little Street.
On December 2nd 2021 it was announced that the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam would dedicate an exhibition to Vermeer for the first time in its history. Promising to be the largest ever Vermeer exhibition ever.
The exhibition running from February 10th will extend its opening hours to 10pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings for the duration of the exhibition. Over 200,000 tickets have already been sold with the Rijksmuseum saying they have “never before .. received so much demand ahead of the opening of an exhibition”.
To attend the exhibition you must book a time slot in advance much like was the case throughout the coronavirus period. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is expecting visitors from around the globe to attend as there is a lot of excitement around the exhibition.
The museum has outlined the challenges stating they had to bring French architect, Jean-Michel Wilmotte to design the exhibition in an attempt to not lose the intimacy of the paintings.
Tickets are on sale now from the Rijksmuseum’s website.