Los Angeles- The J. Paul Getty Museum present Dutch drawings from a collector’s cabinet, an exhibition featuring for the first time a magnificent set of 17th century drawings acquired from a private collector in 2019. On view at the Getty Center from October 11, 2022 to January 15, 2023, the exhibition features 50 works by artists from the Dutch Republic , including Rembrandt van Rijn, Adriaen van de Velde, Jacob van Ruisdael and Aelbert Cuyp, among others.
“This exhibition celebrates a historic acquisition for the Getty Museum, which allows us to present a more comprehensive history of Dutch art and makes our holdings in this field one of the largest in the United States,” says Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle. and Robert Tuttle, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This is the first time these works have been exhibited publicly together, and we are delighted to be able to share them with visitors and scholars for their study and enjoyment.”
“One of the things that makes this acquisition particularly significant is that many of the group’s drawings are by artists whose work is very rarely available on the market,” says Stephanie Schrader, curator of drawings at the Getty Museum and co-curator of the exhibition. “The exhibition highlights the collection and invites visitors to explore the subjects and techniques that have made artists from the Dutch Republic so renowned and beloved.”
The Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe in the 17th century, a time when its global trade, military, science and art were highly valued. The exhibition presents this period of great artistic achievement when the drawings became increasingly appreciated as independent works of art.
The exhibition presents a wide range of genres and subjects, ranging from a selection of rare landscapes and seascapes, religious scenes, figure studies and portraits, to colorful botanical illustrations. A notable landscape drawing in the exhibition is that of Adriaen van de Velde The turret house seen from the northeast, which offers a quintessential evocation of the flat Dutch countryside framed by expanses of sky and water. Another landscape, that of Jacob van Ruisdael A cottage among the treesboldly rendered in black chalk, documents the artist’s travels to Bentheim in Westphalia.
While Dutch artists often made naturalistic subjects iconic of their native land, many also flocked to Rome to delve into the study of ancient monuments. “Dutch artists were enchanted by Italy’s warm, golden light and the vibrant history of the landscape,” said Casey Lee, assistant curator in the Getty Museum’s Drawings Department. “This exhibition offers insight into the significant influence of Italian subjects on Dutch art at this time, from Roman ruins to Corinthian columns.”
The exhibition includes several religious and historical scenes, including a striking work titled Crucifixion by Samuel van Hoogstraten, one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils, as well as an elaborate composition study by Gerrit van Honthorst titled Allegorical portrait of the four eldest children of the King and Queen of Bohemia.
Among the many portraits and character studies presented in the exhibition is Peasants playing backgammon and partying in a tavern, a comic scene by Cornelis Dusart depicted in vibrant watercolors on luxurious vellum. Two other notable works are young woman at the balustrade, a very detailed portrait of a woman by Jan de Bray, and young man leaning on a sticka rare study of ancient figures by Rembrandt, made while working in Leiden, the Netherlands, early in his career.
Five botanical drawings in the exhibition demonstrate the fascination with the natural world and the interplay of art and science in the Netherlands. The imposing watercolor by Jacob Marrel four tulips evokes “tulipmania”, a period when speculative prices for tulip bulbs reached astonishing heights before the market collapsed in 1637. The watercolor by Maria Sibylla Merian Metamorphosis of a small emperor moth on a plum tree is a meticulous rendering of an emperor moth’s metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar based on a counter-proof of her caterpillar book of 1679.
To complement the exhibition, Getty will organize a conference, Tulipmania: money, honor and knowledge in the Dutch Golden AgeOctober 30 with Dr. Anne Goldgar, author of Tulipmania, which will demystify the myths about the phenomenon of 17th century “tulipmania”.
Dutch drawings from a collector’s cabinet is curated by Stephanie Schrader, Curator of Drawings, and Casey Lee, Assistant Curator in the Drawings Department of the Getty Museum.