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Johannes Vermeer
November 12, 1995 – February 11, 1996
West Building Main Floor

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: This unprecedented exhibition featured 21 of the existing 35 works known to have been painted by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. It was drawn from museums and private collections in Europe and the United States. Among the paintings on display was View of Delft, on loan from the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague, which had never been seen outside Europe. The exhibition also included a special display of 17th-century maps of the Netherlands and Delft to provide background information about the artist's environment.

A special lecture series entitled Vermeer and Jan Steen: Two Pictures of Holland was held Tuesdays in January in the East Building auditorium. A symposium on Vermeer was presented Saturday, January 20, in the East Building auditorium.

The exhibition drew extraordinary crowds, and free passes were required for admission at all times. All available advance passes were completely distributed about halfway through the run of the exhibition, and lines for daily passes grew longer each morning. Beginning on November 24, hours were extended until 7 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and from February 1, until 9 p.m. each night.

In the winter of 1995/1996, the Gallery was closed during 2 federal government shutdowns and a blizzard, which severely affected public access to the exhibition. As a result, the Vermeer show was inaccessible for 19 days of its run at the Gallery. After 10 days of the second government furlough (on December 27), the Vermeer exhibition was reopened using private funds. The rest of the Gallery remained closed to the public.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art and the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague. Curators were Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery, and Frederik J. Duparc, director of the Mauritshuis.

Sponsor: The exhibition was made possible by United Technologies Corporation. Additional support was provided by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Attendance: 327,551

Catalog: Johannes Vermeer, edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1995.

Brochure: Johannes Vermeer, by Meredith Hale. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1995.

Other Venues: Mauritshuis, The Hague, March 1–June 2, 1996

Image: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Red Hat, c. 1665/1666, oil on panel, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.53

Audio and Video

The Vermeer Phenomenon, Part I
Video, Released: October 10, 2017, (43:47 minutes)
The Vermeer Phenomenon, Part II
Video, Released: October 10, 2017, (9:39 minutes)
The Girl with a Pearl Earring: The Making of an Icon

Audio, Released: July 1, 2014, (1111 minutes)