Johannes Vermeer: “A Lady Writing”
November 1, 2016 — December 18, 2016
The Chrysler Museum of Art is pleased to announce a six-week exhibition of a Johannes Vermeer masterpiece. A Lady Writing comes to us from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Vermeer’s works are as highly regarded as they are rare, as only 35 of his paintings survive to this day. An incredibly skilled craftsman held in high esteem by his fellow Dutch Golden Age painters in the city of Delft, his understanding of light and its color-related effects are revered to this day.
After his death in 1675, he left behind 11 children and many debts. Since most of his paintings were sold to local collectors, his fame did not spread and his work was largely overlooked until the 19th century. Vermeer worked slowly, roughly three paintings per year, and used very expensive pigments, such as lapis lazuli, or natural ultramarine.
This painting, completed around 1665, is notable for its use of lead-tin-yellow pigment. It’s done in a style often seen in Vermeer’s work—an intimate interior scene with light coming from the left. Many of his paintings feature the same furnishings, as he did much of his painting in two rooms of his home.
This work is one of three Vermeers owned by the National Gallery of Art. The appeal of his work was powerfully demonstrated in 1995, when the NGA presented a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition—21 of Vermeer’s 35 works in one gallery.
During the run, the National Gallery was closed because of a budget dispute between President Bill Clinton and the Republican majority in Congress. Private funds were quickly raised, and while the main institution was closed, the Vermeer exhibition remained open.