Release Date: October 6, 2016
National Gallery of Art Acquires Caspar Netscher's Masterpiece A Woman Feeding a Parrot, with a Page
Washington, DC—At the September meeting of the board of trustees, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, acquired its first work by Caspar (or Gaspar) Netscher, A Woman Feeding a Parrot, with a Page (1666). This captivating painting makes its US debut in the exhibition Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt (October 4, 2016–January 2, 2017) as one of fewer than 10 works by the artist on public view in the country. In addition, the painting is shown for the first time alongside a drawing from the British Museum that Netscher made after the painting.
"We are delighted to add a work by Caspar Netscher to the Gallery's outstanding collection of 17th-century Dutch high-life genre scenes," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. "We are very grateful to Lee and Juliet Folger for helping us acquire this superb work in another extraordinary demonstration of their generosity and commitment to the National Gallery of Art."
The acquisition was made possible by the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund.
A Young Woman Feeding a Parrot, with a Page
Considered Netscher's finest work, this exceptional painting displays the full range of the Dutch master's technique, his talent as a portraitist, and his ability to depict interactions among the social elite. In the panel, a fashionable young woman wearing a gold-colored dress stands in a stone niche, gazing provocatively out at the viewer while she feeds an African grey parrot that has been removed from its cage. Netscher convincingly renders illusionistic space as well as a rich array of materials, with a bronze curtain pulled across the arch and a luxurious oriental carpet spilling over the ledge.
Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt provides an unprecedented opportunity to view the painting with Netscher's pen and wash drawing made as a "ricordo," or record of the painting after it was sold. The British Museum graciously expedited the loan of this drawing to facilitate the presentation.
In 1939 the Belgian owners of the painting deposited the work for safekeeping at the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Confiscated during the German occupation of Belgium in 1942, the panel became part of Hermann Goering's collection. For sale at the Galerie Abels in Cologne following the war, it was purchased by a private collector, then donated in 1952 to the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal, Germany where it remained until it was restituted to the heirs of the pre-war owners in 2014. Sold the same year at Christie's, New York, the work was purchased by the London art dealer Richard Green, from whom the Gallery is acquiring it from with a generous gift from the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund.
Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt
With their vivid details and realistic nature, 17th-century Dutch landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes seem to have been painted from life. In fact, most artists based their paintings on preliminary drawings. Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt, on view in the West Building from October 4, 2016, through January 2, 2017, sheds light on the varied ways in which renowned artists of the Dutch Golden Age—including Rembrandt van Rijn, Aelbert Cuyp, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Pieter Jansz Saenredam—used drawings as part of the painting process.
The exhibition features nearly 100 such drawings, many of them paired with related paintings. Among the drawings are sheets from sketchbooks, rapidly executed compositional designs, detailed figure studies, and carefully rendered construction drawings made with the aid of a ruler and compass. The exhibition includes artists from throughout the 17th century and explores a wide variety of subjects, including depictions of everyday life, landscapes, architectural studies, portraits, still lifes, and history scenes. Underdrawings that artists made on their panels prior to painting are examined with the aid of infrared reflectography.
The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, where it will be on view from February 3 to May 7, 2017.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Mihael and Mrs. Mahy Polymeropoulos. Additional funding is provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.
Isabella Bulkeley, (202) 842-6864 or [email protected]
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Exhibition Press Release:
Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt
October 4, 2016—January 2, 2017