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    Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

    Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), View of Amsterdam from Central Station, 1885, On loan from the P. and N. de Boer Foundation, 2024.

    This view of Amsterdam from Central Station by Van Gogh is one of three works by the artist to go on display today at the Rijksmuseum. They are on long term loan from the P and N de Boer Foundation in Amsterdam. Van Gogh painted this view of Amsterdam while on his way to visit the Rijksmuseum, which had recently opened. From today, the loaned Van Gogh works –  Riverbank with Trees (1887) and Wheat Field (1888) – will hang together in the museum alongside his self-portrait from the Rijksmuseum collection. 

    After saving up for a long time, in October 1885 Van Gogh travelled from Nuenen to Amsterdam to visit the Rijksmuseum, which had only recently opened. He was very impressed by the paintings of Frans Hals – especially Militia Company of District XI – but was completely blown away by Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride. Van Gogh described Rembrandt as a poet, writing: ‘[I would] gladly give up ten years of my life to sit in front of the painting for two weeks, eating only a stale crust of bread.’ Van Gogh had brought his painting materials with him to Amsterdam, and on the morning of his visit he applied just a few colours with rapid brushwork to capture the view of the Singel canal and the Cupola Church. This is one of only a few city views that Van Gogh painted in this period. 


    Monday, December 18th, 2023

    More than 650,000 people were able to see the Vermeer Exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam this year. An online 360 degree tour of the exhibition launches today. Just go to Rijksmuseum site and scroll down til youy come to Watch the Vermeer Exhibition at Home. You can click on any image for more detail. It’s been a historic year at the Rijksmuseum, thanks in part to the Vermeer exhibition, which ran for four months this spring. It was the best-attended exhibition in the history of the museum. A total of 2.7 million people visited the museum in 2023.


    Monday, August 21st, 2023

    Frans Hals will be the focus of a blockbuster show at the Rijksmuseum next year.   The Dutch master known for the vitality of his subjects is regarded as one of the most innovative artists of the 17th century. His subjects range from stately regents to cheerful musicians, children and soldiers depicted in a unique, personal style that was utterly original. The first major exhibition devoted to Frans Hals at the Rijksmuseum follows the recent exhibitions on Rembrandt and Vermeer and is the first show on this scale since the 1989-90 exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, The National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. It will feature 50 of his greatest works, many of loan from international collections, including The Laughing Cavalier from The Wallace Collection in London.  It will be the first time this particular work has been loaned since 1870. Pictured here is The Lute Player c1623 from the collection at The Louvre.  Frans Hals at the Rijksmuseum will run from February 16 – June 9, 2024.


    Tuesday, July 4th, 2023

    Four outstanding silver salt cellars made by the renowned Amsterdam silversmith Johannes Lutma (1584-1669) Amsterdam’s foremost silversmith in the 17th century – have been acquired by the Rijksmuseum. These partially gilded objects are among the most important examples of 17th-century Dutch silversmithing. Prior to the Second World War, all four were the property of Hamburg resident Emma Budge, who was Jewish. Following her death in 1937, the cellars were sold at auction. The proceeds of this sale went to the Nazis rather than to Budge’s heirs. The Dutch Restitutions Committee recently decided that the salt cellars be returned to the descendants. 

    Following the death of Emma Budge in 1937, her property was sold off at Paul Graupe’s ‘aryanised’ auction house in Berlin. The proceeds of the sale were confiscated by the German Nazi party. It is believed that the four salt cellars were bought by a German dealer named Greatzer, about whom little else is known. They eventually entered collection of W.J.R. Dreesmann. In 1960, central government and the City of Amsterdam acquired the four salt cellars at an auction of the Dreesman collection; two went on display in the Rijksmuseum and two in the Amsterdam Museum. 

    An investigation carried out by the Amsterdam Museum concluded in 2013 that the two salt cellars in its collection were of suspicious origin. This prompted the Rijksmuseum to initiate an investigation into the two salt cellars in its own collection. A year later, these objects were identified as suspicious on the websites of both the Rijksmuseum and the Museums Association. In 2014, restitutions committees in various countries designated the 1937 auction of Emma Budge’s estate as involuntary. This led to the return to Budge’s descendants of silver, porcelain, tapestries and busts by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the German food conglomerate Dr. Oetker. The Dutch Restitutions Committee arrived at the same conclusion in 2018, leading to the return of the bronze sculpture of Moses attributed to Alessandro Vittoria from the collection of Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle.  In May of this year the Dutch state and the City of Amsterdam returned the objects to the claimants. That same day, the heirs sold all four salt cellars to the Rijksmuseum.

    The acquisition was made with financial support from the Friends Lottery, the Mondriaan Fund, the Rembrandt Association, and private benefactors. The Rijksmuseum will place the four salt cellars on view from September 6 next in a display that also tells the story of Emma Budge.


    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023
    Richard Long – Maas Riverstones Circle, 2023 Photo: Rijksmuseum/Jannes Linders.

    A gift of 12.5 million euros from a private donor, the largest financial gift ever made to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, will enable the annual sculpture exhibitions in the gardens to continue for ten years. British artist Richard Long will present the 2023 anniversary edition of series. Born in 1945, Richard Long is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost contemporary artists. His work involves subtle interventions in landscapes that he explores by walking. The artist has produced eight works for the show, six of which are entirely new. Four new works in grass marks a return to the start and his 1967 work A Line Made by Walking.

    The Rijksmuseum relies on partners, funds and private benefactors for one third of its income.Richard Long in the Rijksmuseum Gardens runs from May 26 to October 29.

    Richard Long – Life Line at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2023


    Sunday, January 8th, 2023
    Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) – Girl with a Pearl Earring 1664-67, Mauritshuis, The Hague

    This is the year for Vermeer. Excitement is building in advance of the opening on February 10 of the Rijksmuseum exhibition in Amsterdam which has been bolstered by loans from the US, Europe and Japan to become the largest Vermeer show ever.  At least 27 out of his very small oeuvre of around three dozen paintings loaned from the most prestigious museums in the world will be on display. Among the highlights is Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid c1670 from the collection of Ireland’s National Gallery.  In an extraordinary gesture the Frick Collection in New York has lent all three of its Vermeer masterpieces, The Girl Interrupted at Her Music, Officer and Laughing Girl and Mistress and Maid.

    Highlights include The Girl with a Pearl Earring  from the Mauritshuis in The Hague, The Geographer from the Stadel Museum, Frankfurt and Woman Holding a Balance from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Another Vermeer from the Washington museum, Girl with a Flute, is the source of the sort of gleeful controversy that always dogs the art world. The National Gallery of Art in Washington announced recently that after long and careful scientific study it had decided that this painting was not by Vermeer and most likely by a pupil or apprentice.The director of the Rijksmuseum Taco Dibbits said that their view is more inclusive and they had decided the work should be in the show. Dibbits said there were questions about the authenticity of other works too and that their analysis showed that Vermeer was an artist who experimented and took different artistic routes.

    Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) – The Geographer, Stadel Museum, Frankfurt.

    Last year the Rijksmuseum announced that advanced scientific studies into one of its own Vermeers, The Milkmaid, yielded several startling discoveries. Two objects in the world famous canvas, a jug holder and a fire basket, had been painted over by the artist. Analysis revealed an underpainting and offered insights into the processes of Johannes Vermeer as he sought to capture the tranquility for which his work is famous. This is the first time that the Rijksmuseum, the National Museum of The Netherlands, has dedicated a retrospective to the 17th century master. It will run until June 4.


    Sunday, December 18th, 2022
    Self-portrait with Julie Manet, Berthe Morisot, 1888 – ca. 1930. Gift of the heirs of Henny, Amsterdam

    Women on Paper is the title of an exhibition which has just opened at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  Work by a selection of women artists across four centuries including drawings, prints and photographs by Gesina ter Borch, Berthe Morisot, Kathe Kollwitz and Julia Margaret Cameron, has been assembled.  The show, displayed across five rooms in different parts of the museum, results from a long term stock taking study of work by women in the collection and aims to create a more balanced representation. It runs until June 5, 2023.


    Thursday, November 24th, 2022
    Cabinet, Herman Doomer, 1632. Rijksmuseum

    A masterwork by Herman Doomer, the leading cabinet maker in The Netherlands in the 17th century, goes on display in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam from November 25. Made in 1632 the ebony cupboard with mother-of-pearl inlay was in private hands for several centuries. It is believed to be Doomer’s first masterwork, and the only piece by him that can be accurately dated. It will be displayed beside another by Doomer in the Rijksmuseum collection since 1975 in the Gallery of Honour until March 14, 2023.

    Doomer introduced new styles and techniques to cabinetmaking and counted Rembrandt amongst his admirers. Rembrandt painted portraits of Herman Doomer and his wife Baertje Martens in 1640. These paintings now hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Hermitage in St Petersburg. The lower section is fairly traditional, in the upper section the cabinetmaker introduced movement and Baroque innovation, such as in the fan-shaped ripple and twisted columns. The cabinet is inlaid with costly ebony wood and radiant mother-of-pearl – a combination that was entirely new to Amsterdam. 

    A detail of the cabinet.


    Thursday, September 8th, 2022
    The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1660. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

    Advanced research technologies into the Vermeer painting The Milkmaid, conducted in the run-up to Rijksmuseum’s major Vermeer exhibition in 2023 has yielded several startling discoveries.  Advanced research technologies have brought to light two objects on Vermeer’s world-famous canvas:  a jug holder and a fire basket.  The artist himself later painted over the objects.  The most recent scans also uncovered what is clearly an underpainting. These discoveries offer revealing insights into Vermeer’s process and his search for capturing the tranquil atmosphere that characterises his work.

    The general assumption was that the artist produced his small oeuvre very slowly, and always worked with extreme precision.  This view is now being revised.  A hastily applied thick line of black paint can be seen beneath the milkmaid’s left arm.  This sketch shows clearly that Vermeer first quickly painted the scene in light and dark tones before developing the detail. A similar preliminary sketch in black paint can be seen on the wall behind the young woman’s head.  By comparing the results it has now become clear that Vermeer used black paint to sketch a jug holder and several jugs, but didn’t develop them any further.  The jug holder, a plank of wood with knobs attached, was used in 17th-century kitchens for hanging up multiple ceramic jugs by the handle.  A pantry in Vermeer’s own home contained a similar item. Scientists identified the previously discovered basket, at the lower right of the painting, as a so-called ‘fire basket’.  Woven from willow stems, or withies, this type of basket was a standard household item for young families.  A fire bowl containing glowing coals was placed in the basket to keep new-borns warm and to dry nappies. 

    Tickets for the Vermeer exhibition from February 10 – June 4 2023 go on sale today on the Rijksmuseum website:


    Saturday, July 16th, 2022
    Rembrandt van Rijn – Self-portrait with beret, wide eyed 1630 (etching) Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

    Rich pickings for art lovers at summer exhibitions in Dublin range from remarkable drawings on loan from the Rijksmuseum at the National Gallery of Ireland to an artistic examination of the science fiction of the present at IMMA. Intimate insights into 17th century life in the Netherlands can be seen at Dutch Drawings: highlights from the Rijksmuseum which opens at the National Gallery today.  This rare loan exhibition selected from the world renowned collection in Amsterdam offers 48 works by 31 different artists. Among them are Rembrandt, Hendrick Avercamp, Nicolaes Berchem, Jacob van Ruisdael, Gerard ter Boch, Ferdinand Bol and Albert Cuyp.

    This show offers Irish audiences a unique opportunity to view at close quarters works which range from studies of plants and animals, daily life, portraits, architecture and landscape. This art conveys a strong sense of what life as it was lived then was like.  Drawing was a portable and inexpensive medium.  There are differing techniques with works in graphite, ink, watercolour, chalks, etchings and woodcuts plus a small number of prints by Rembrandt. The exhibition shows artists striving to understand the world around them.  It continues at the National Gallery runs until November 6.

    Aelbert Cuyp – View of Dordrecht c1650. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

    The exhibition at IMMA is concerned with insights by artists into the world as we know it now.  On show here is a cross section of works produced between 2022 and 2018 by The Otolith Group, a London based collective founded in 2002 by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun.  Otoliths are bodies in the inner ear involved with sensing gravity and movement. These pioneering artworks utilising film, video and multi-screen installations address contemporary, social and planetary issues, the disruptions of neo-colonialism, the way in which humans have impacted the earth and the influence of new technology on consciousness. The exhibition is entitled Xenogenesis (the production of an organism unlike the parent) and it reflects the commitment by the artists to creating what they think of as ‘a science fiction of the present’ through images, voices, sounds and performance.  Themes are both universal and relevant to contemporary life.
    IMMA director and curator of the exhibition Annie Fletcher said: “The Otolith Group’s films and installations address the forces and events that have shaped our world while offering inspiring examples and models  of how we might collectively imagine a different future”.