A doable new addition to the oeuvre of Johannes Vermeer, the famed Dutch Golden Age grasp for whom there are believed to be only 37 recognized operates, may well have been hiding in simple sight in the selection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The establishment has owned the work in question, titled Woman With a Guitar, considering that 1933, but has never exhibited it. Industry experts experienced downgraded it to the status of a late-17th-century Vermeer duplicate after a nearly identical portray, titled The Guitar Player, appeared in 1927.
That assumption has been challenged by Arie Wallert, a former scientific expert at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Based on the work’s pigments, Wallert made a circumstance for the Philadelphia painting’s authenticity in a presentation throughout a symposium held final 7 days at the Rijksmuseum on the event of “Vermeer,” the most entire displaying of the artist’s get the job done at any time assembled. (It brings with each other 28 of his paintings.)
The so-termed duplicate is in truth “a portray by Vermeer,” he argued.
“The upcoming of Lady With a Guitar will be to inspire dialogue, embracing scholarship, and to find much more information and enlightenment from this mysterious portray approximately 350 many years right after its generation,” Philadelphia Museum director Sasha Suda informed the Art Newspaper, which initial described on the possible new Vermeer.
In a lecture titled “The Guitar Participant: A Quite Sad Tale,” Wallert supplied a specialized examination of the Philadelphia painting, which he admitted is in a “shocking” condition, with substantial surface injury and a tear on the reduce ideal portion of the canvas. The function arrived from the assortment of John Johnson, a Pennsylvania law firm who died in 1917. Prior to that, data exhibit that it was section of the Cremer selection in Brussels in the 19th century.
“The portray has remained in secure issue because the Johnson Assortment arrived less than the treatment of the museum in the 1930s, despite the fact that prior conservation endeavours, unfortunately, experienced still left the portray in a really compromised state,” Suda explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
But whilst the do the job was very likely weakened by a improperly done cleaning at the time of its acquisition, Wallert believes the paints by themselves propose Vermeer’s authorship.
There’s the highly-priced ultramarine Vermeer favored, as well as direct-tin yellow, which was only made use of right until about 1700. The pigments in Woman With a Guitar were being utilised in “combinations that no person else utilised at the time,” Wallert stated.
Wallert also when compared the compositions of the two versions of the get the job done, which vary only in the girl’s hairstyle—loose curls in The Guitar Participant, compared to pulled back in Lady With a Guitar. He did not offer any probable explanations for that alter, but prompt that both canvases were being primarily based on a solitary preparatory drawing.
The recognized version of the composition, The Guitar Player, is in the assortment of London’s Kenwood Home. It is deemed far too fragile to vacation, which is why it is just one of the several operates that did not make the trip for the artist’s sold-out blockbuster at the Rijksmuseum.
Curiously, the demonstrate does include a painting that is no for a longer time universally recognized as an autograph Vermeer. Last slide, the Countrywide Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., determined that Woman With a Flute (1665/1675) was probably the perform of Vermeer’s studio, not the artist himself. (It was an primarily fascinating assertion given the deficiency of past evidence that the artist had studio assistants.)
The Rijksmuseum disagreed with that evaluation and saved the operate in the clearly show, in which it is exhibited as an primary Vermeer.
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