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Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

October 22, 2017 – January 21, 2018
West Building, Main Floor, Northeast Galleries

Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Widener Collection

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

This landmark exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from the mid-1650s to around 1680, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of genre painting, or depictions of daily life. The introduction of quiet scenes unfolding in private household spaces and featuring elegant ladies and gentlemen was among the most striking innovations of Dutch painting of the Golden Age, a time of unparalleled innovation and prosperity. The exhibition brings together nearly 70 works by Vermeer and his fellow painters, including Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, Caspar Netscher, and Jan Steen, who lived in various towns throughout the Dutch Republic, from Delft and Deventer to Amsterdam and Leiden. Juxtaposing paintings related by theme, motif, and composition, the exhibition explores how these artists inspired, rivaled, surpassed, and pushed each other to greater artistic achievement. The exhibition features 10 paintings by Vermeer (many of which have not been seen in the United States since the Gallery’s 1995–1996 exhibition Johannes Vermeer), including The Lacemaker (c. 1669–1670, Musée du Louvre, Paris) and The Love Letter (c. 1669–1670, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). A fully illustrated catalog features essays by the curators and essays and entries by a team of international scholars.

This exhibition is curated by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of northern baroque paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Dr. Adriaan Waiboer, head of collections and research, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; and Blaise Ducos, curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings, Musée du Louvre, Paris.

#VermeerDC

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, and the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Sponsors: BP is proud to be a major sponsor of this exhibition as part of its support of the arts in the U.S. and U.K. The exhibition is also generously supported by the Hata Foundation, Dr. Mihael and Mrs. Mahy Polymeropoulos, and The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition in Washington is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Attendance: 266,427

Catalog: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting. By Adriaan Waiboer, et al. Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, 2017.

Brochure: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, by Alexandra Libby. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2017. 

Other venues: Musée du Louvre, Paris, February 22–May 22, 2017
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, June 17–September 17, 2017

Gabriel Metsu
The Intruder
c. 1660
Gerard ter Borch the Younger
The Suitor's Visit
c. 1658
Johannes Vermeer
A Lady Writing
c. 1665
Caspar Netscher
A Woman Feeding a Parrot, with a Page
1666
Johannes Vermeer
Woman Holding a Balance
c. 1664
Bega, Cornelis
Dutch, 1631 - 1664
Borch the Younger, Gerard ter
Dutch, 1617 - 1681
Dou, Gerrit
Dutch, 1613 - 1675
Hooch, Pieter de
Dutch, 1629 - 1684
Metsu, Gabriel
Dutch, 1629 - 1667
Mieris, Frans van
Dutch, 1635 - 1681
Netscher, Caspar
Dutch, 1639 - 1684
Ochtervelt, Jacob
Dutch, 1634 - 1682
Steen, Jan
Dutch, 1625 - 1679
Vermeer, Johannes
Dutch, 1632 - 1675

SlideshowGerrit Dou: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt

SlideshowRevisiting Vermeer: The 20th Anniversary of the 1995 Blockbuster Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art

Slideshow
Johannes Vermeer's Woman Holding a Balance

SlideshowGerard ter Borch

Audio The Girl with a Pearl Earring: The Making of an Icon

Released: July 1, 2014, (50:34 minutes)

Audio Meeting Metsu: ANOTHER Dutch Master 
Released: June 7, 2011, (65:40 minutes)

Audio Gabriel Metsu, 1629-1667
Released: May 3, 2011, (16:34 minutes)

AudioDutch Paintings at the National Gallery of Art: The Untold Stories behind the Acquisitions of the Rembrandts, Vermeers, and Other Treasures in the Collection
Released: January 18, 2011, (75:00 minutes)

AudioThe Vermeer Phenomenon, Part I
Released: October 10, 2017, (43:47 minutes) 

AudioThe Vermeer Phenomenon, Part II
Released: October 10, 2017, (9:39 minutes)

Video Vermeer: In the Light of Delft
Released: September 28, 2010, (6:28 minutes)

VideoVermeer: Master of Light-Woman Holding a Balance, Part 1
Released: December 16, 2008, (3:59 minutes)

Video Vermeer: Master of Light-The Music Lesson, Part 2
Released: January 20, 2009, (8:42 minutes)

Video Vermeer: Master of Light-Girl with the Red Hat, Part 3
Released: March 3, 2009, (5:39 minutes)

Video Vermeer: Master of Light-Camera Obscura, Part 4
Released: March 31, 2009, (1:42 minutes)

Video Vermeer: Master of Light-Woman Writing a Letter, Part 5
Released: May 5, 2009, (2:43 minutes)

Parrots and People in Dutch Genre Paintings: A Discussion with Dr. Irene Pepperberg on the Role of the African Grey Parrot in the 17th Century
Audio, Released: April 3, 2018, (44:30 minutes)
Striking the Right Chord: Seeing Music in Dutch Genre Painting
Video, Released: February 6, 2018, (29:55 minutes)
Innovation, Competition, and Fine Painting Technique: Marketing High-Life Style in the Dutch 17th Century
Video, Released: February 6, 2018, (30:12 minutes)
Virtuous Rivalry in the Age of Vermeer
Audio, Released: February 6, 2018, (47:47 minutes)
Virtuous Rivalry in the Age of Vermeer
Audio, Released: February 6, 2018, (47:04 minutes)
Pictures in Paintings
Video, Released: February 6, 2018, (45:00 minutes)
Striking the Right Chord: Seeing Music in Dutch Genre Painting
Audio, Released: February 6, 2018, (30:33 minutes)
Innovation, Competition, and Fine Painting Technique: Marketing High-Life Style in the Dutch 17th Century
Audio, Released: February 6, 2018, (44:54 minutes)
Dutch burghers and their wine: Nary a sour grape
Audio, Released: February 6, 2018, (44:41 minutes)
Pictures in Paintings
Audio, Released: February 6, 2018, (45:52 minutes)
Dutch burghers and their wine: Nary a sour grape
Video, Released: February 6, 2018, (43:54 minutes)
Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: New Insights and Discoveries
Video, Released: January 30, 2018, (70:03 minutes)
Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: New Insights and Discoveries
Audio, Released: January 23, 2018, (70:03 minutes)
Johannes Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Video, Released: January 16, 2018, (10:34 minutes)
More than Mimicry: The Parrot in Dutch Genre Painting
Audio, Released: January 9, 2018, (50:30 minutes)
Time and Temporality in Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting
Video, Released: January 9, 2018, (33:05 minutes)
More than Mimicry: The Parrot in Dutch Genre Painting
Video, Released: January 9, 2018, (43:13 minutes)
Time and Temporality in Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting
Audio, Released: January 9, 2018, (34:13 minutes)
Introduction to the Exhibition—Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Video, Released: November 7, 2017, (83:44 minutes)
Introduction to the Exhibition—Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Audio, Released: October 31, 2017, (83:44 minutes)
Press Event: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Audio, Released: October 17, 2017, (18:48 minutes)
Opening soon: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Video, Released: September 26, 2017, (00:15 minutes)