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December 31, 2019 (September 16, 2021)

Gems of 17th-Century Dutch and Flemish Painting Brought Together in Exhibition in Refreshed Cabinet Galleries

Simon de Vlieger, Estuary at Day's End

Simon de Vlieger, Estuary at Day's End, c. 1640/1645
oil on panel, overall: 36.8 x 58.4 cm (14 1/2 x 23 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons' Permanent Fund and The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund in memory of Kathrine Dulin Folger

Washington, DC—From majestic seascapes and expansive landscapes to lively genre scenes and rich still lifes, Dutch and Flemish paintings of the 1600s reveal the ways art helped the young Dutch Republic define a collective cultural identity. On view from October 17, 2021, through February 27, 2022, Clouds, Ice, and Bounty: The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Collection of Seventeenth-Century Dutch and Flemish Paintings presents 27 paintings acquired by the National Gallery of Art through the generosity of the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund over the past 25 years, plus one painting from Lee and Juliet Folger's personal collection.

Outstanding works by artists such as Salomon van Ruysdael and Clara Peeters, along with recent acquisitions by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Dirck Hals, fill the West Building's Dutch and Flemish Cabinet Galleries. The construction of these galleries in 1995 was also supported by the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund. This suite of spaces, newly refurbished for the exhibition, emulates the domestic environments for which many of the works were originally created, providing viewers with a uniquely intimate viewing experience.

"The National Gallery's collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings—one of the finest outside the Netherlands—owes much to the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, which for more than two decades has generously supported the acquisition of exceptional works by artists at the height of their talents. Clouds, Ice, and Bounty offers visitors new ways to understand these highlights of our collection and provides a first glimpse of several new additions," said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art.

Dates

October 17, 2021–February 27, 2022

Exhibition Organization and Curator

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The exhibition is curated by Marjorie E. Wieseman, curator and head of the department of northern European paintings, National Gallery of Art.

Exhibition Overview

Clouds, Ice, and Bounty features a broad range of landscapes, seascapes, genre scenes, portraits, and still lifes produced by Dutch and Flemish painters during the 1600s. The paintings represent the prosperity and progress enjoyed by the Dutch Republic and the neighboring province of Flanders during the period. However, the exhibition acknowledges that artists carefully selected what to depict of their time, typically avoiding the darker sides of progress. The Dutch and Flemish also experienced near-constant war, religious strife, sickness, poverty, and famine, and beyond their borders the Republic participated in the transatlantic slave trade and colonization. Throughout the exhibition, information about the paintings' historical contexts demonstrates how the compositions blend reality and fiction, revealing the values of the artists that made them, the patrons that commissioned them, and the collectors that cherished them.

Jan van Goyen's Ice Scene near a Wooden Observation Tower (1646) was undoubtedly painted in the artist's studio, but the close study of architectural details and masterful rendering of atmospheric effects indicate the artist's familiarity with this chill and blustery setting. The scene depicts one of the many waterways that were essential to both transport and recreation in the Low Countries. The various messages of genre scenes are illustrated in works like Jacob Ochtervelt's A Nurse and a Child in an Elegant Foyer (1663), which emphasizes the virtue of charity. Others, such as Philips Wouwerman's elegantly detailed The Departure for the Hunt (c. 1665/1668), appear to reflect the wealth—or aspirations of wealth—of their original owners. The exhibition's range of still lifes includes small-scale compositions like Still Life with Flowers Surrounded by Insects and a Snail (c. 1610) by Clara Peeters, one of the few women painters known to have been working professionally in the Low Countries in the early 1600s. Made while she was still in her teens, the painting's precise detailing suggests that Peeters studied the flowers and insects from life. Pieter Claesz's grand and vividly colored Still Life with Peacock Pie (1627) would have been admired by 17th-century viewers for the artist's skill in recreating the textures of the different objects and for the immense luxury and abundance those objects represented.

Clouds, Ice, and Bounty includes several paintings that were acquired in the past year, some of which will be on view for the first time as a result of the National Gallery's temporary closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include Jan Brueghel the Elder's Wooded Landscape with Travelers (1610), a fictionalized view of farmers, herdsmen, and others crossing paths on a road through the woods. On public view for just one day before the museum's closure in March 2020, Dirck Hals's brightly colored Merry Company on a Terrace (1625) is the first painting by the artist to enter the National Gallery's collection. The merry company—a popular subject depicting carefree young men and women—shows the influence of the artist's older brother, Frans Hals, in its animated brushwork. Also acquired in 2020, Adriaen Coorte's Still Life with a Hanging Bunch of Grapes, Two Medlars, and a Butterfly (1687) is striking in its stark simplicity. The painting is the second work by Coorte to enter the National Gallery's collection. It will be installed alongside the artist's Still Life with Asparagus and Red Currants (1696), which was acquired in 2002.

Publication

A fully illustrated catalog has been published by the National Gallery. Written by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., formerly the National Gallery's curator of northern baroque paintings, the volume opens with an essay on the development of the Dutch and Flemish painting collection. Individual entries consider the compositions and techniques, as well as the broader historical contexts, of each work. The catalog will be available for purchase in the West Building Shops and the East Building Shops; shop.nga.gov; (800) 697-9350 (phone); or [email protected].

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Press Announcement: December 31, 2019
Clouds, Ice, and Bounty: The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Collection of Seventeenth-Century Dutch and Flemish Paintings
National Gallery of Art, October 17, 2021–February 27, 2022

Depicting a rich cross section of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish life and culture, this exhibition brings together 25 paintings acquired through the generosity of the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund over the past two decades, supplemented by one painting from Lee and Juliet Folger’s personal collection. Assembled with care and passion, the collection includes landscapes by Jacob van Ruisdael and Salomon van Ruysdael, winter scenes by Jan van Goyen and Adam van Breen, genre paintings by Dirck Hals and Caspar Netscher, seascapes by Reinier Nooms and Simon de Vlieger, still lifes by Clara Peeters and Frans Snyders, and portraits by Thomas de Keyser and Jan Miense Molenaer. Seen together, this collection offers a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the finest productions of Dutch and Flemish artists of the 17th century. A fully illustrated catalog will consider composition and technique as well as the broader historical context of each work.

The exhibition is curated by Marjorie Wieseman, curator and head of the department of northern European paintings.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Contact Information

General Information
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
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National Gallery of Art
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phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]

Chief of Communications
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phone: (202) 842-6804
e-mail: [email protected]

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