Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ coming to US

Johannes Vermeer, "The Girl with the Pearl Earring," 1665Johannes Vermeer’s masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring will be touring three museums in the United States next year. The last time the Girl was in the US was in 1995, when it was on display at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art along with all 20 other known works by the 17th century Dutch painter.

That exhibition was a blockbuster success, but other works like View of Delft were considered the stars of the show. This time, she gets top billing above the likes of Rembrandt, probably because her popularity has skyrocketed since Tracy Chevalier’s eponymous novel was published in 2000 and the movie starring Scarlett Johansson as the model and Colin Firth as Vermeer hit theaters in 2003.

The new exhibition, “Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis,” features 35 important paintings by Dutch Golden Age masters including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Fans Hals and Jan Steen. The Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis in The Hague is housed in a 17th century palace which will be undergoing a major two-year renovation and expansion. It will close on April 1st and move its entire permanent collection to the Gemeentemuseum, also in The Hague.

The Mauritshuis collection will be on display there in its entirety from April 28, 2012 to May 28, 2012, and then the Girl with a Pearl Earring and her 34 escorts will begin touring the world. First they’ll go to Japan, from July until mid-September at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, then on to Kobe’s City Art Museum until January 2013.

Their first stop in the United States will be the de Young Museum of San Francisco where they’ll be on display from January 26, 2013 to June 2, 2013. Next up will be the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, which will host the exhibition between June 22, 2013 and September 29, 2013. This will be the first time Girl with a Pearl Earring has ever been seen in the southeast United States, so it will give a great many people a unique opportunity to see her in person.

The last stop on the US itinerary is the The Frick Collection in New York City from October 22, 2013 to January 12, 2014. After that the works head home to the Netherlands. They will be back on display at the newly expanded and renovated Mauritshuis by mid-year.

Through landscapes and portraits, the exhibition will explore the idea that Dutch artists more readily embraced genre paintings of secular subjects than their southern European contemporaries and focused on capturing commonplace scenes of daily life. Dutch artists not only recorded representations of the domestic interior, still lifes and revelrous crowds, but often imbued these scenes with moral undertones and humorous, sarcastic wit.

Key paintings featured in the exhibition include: Johannes Vermeer, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” ca. 1665, Carel Fabritius, “Goldfinch,” 1654, Rembrandt van Rijn, “‘Tronie’ of a Man with a Feathered Beret,” ca. 1635, Jan Steen, “The Way You Hear It, Is The Way You Sing It,” ca. 1665, Jacob van Ruisdael, “View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds,” 1670–1675.

Carel Fabritius, "Goldfinch" ca. 1654 Rembrandt van Rijn, ‘Tronie’ of a Man with a Feathered Beret, ca. 1635 Jacob van Ruisdael, "View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds" ca. 1670-1675 Jan Steen, "The way you hear it, is the way you sing it" ca. 1665