The “Dutch Mona Lisa,” Girl with a Pearl Earring, is now showing at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, along with 35 other works by the Dutch Masters! Next, it moves to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and last on the three-museum tour will be the Frick Collection in New York. The show will only make these three stops in the U.S. so, for many of us, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this.

The Mauritshuis is renovating and expanding, so they are sending some of their best paintings on tour. The last time (1995) Girl with a Pearl Earring was in the U.S. was at the National Gallery in Washington, where lines to see it circled the block; the time before that was in 1984 at the Met in New York City.

Paintings in the exhibit include:

Goldfinch, Fabritius, 1654
“Tronie” of a Man with a Feathered Beret, Rembrandt, ca. 1635
Tronie’ of a Man with a Feathered Beret rembrandt
The Way You Hear It, Is The Way You Sing It, Steen, ca. 1665
The Way You Hear it is the Way You Sing it by Jan Steen
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Vermeer, ca. 1665
Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer
View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds, van Ruisdael, 1670–1675
View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds van Ruisdael

Girl with a Pearl Earring was last restored in 1994 and at that time, restorers discovered that Vermeer used organic pigments, indigo and weld, in the background. Thus, he intended it to be a deep green color accomplished with glazes, but these glazes have faded over time.

Interestingly, more recent Vermeer research points to the image being a “tronie,” or “face,” a term for figures not intended to be identifiable (like a genre painting). Tronies are often in elaborate or exotic costumes and the portrait, whether done using a sitter or not, would be sold without identifying the model.

My husband and I will be going to the show in San Francisco in late March, at which time I will probably discover that I need to come back home and put some green glazes over the background of my Girl with a Pearl Earring (see post, Feb. 23, 2013). Thank goodness for art books, but there is nothing like seeing the real paintings hanging on the wall.

For more information:

de Young Museum, San Francisco
Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis
January 26, 2013 – June 2, 2013

High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis
June 22, 2013 – September 29, 2013

The Frick Collection, New York City
An abbreviated show of 10 paintings, including Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, and As the Old Sing, So Twitter the Young and Girl Eating Oysters by Jan Steen.

This entry was posted in museums.

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