From 10 February, no fewer than 28 paintings by Vermeer will be on display at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Although the United States claims there are 27.
It is the first time that so many Vermeers hang in one museum. For the exhibition, the Rijksmuseum has borrowed works from the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. From the latter museum, Girl with the flute is on display, although Americans claim this painting is not a true Vermeer.
In Washington, research concluded that Girl with the flute was not made by Vermeer, but by someone close to the artist. Someone who was familiar with Vermeer’s painting technique, such as an apprentice or family member. Dutch researchers believe it is indeed a genuine Vermeer. Unlike the Americans, they have been able to compare the painting with more of the artist’s work.
The 28 works of art on display in Amsterdam from 10 February are not all owned by museums. Two Vermeers are privately owned by collectors. One of the paintings, for instance, is owned by US billionaire and art collector Thomas Kaplan.
If you include Girl with the Flute, 37 paintings by Vermeer are known worldwide. That is a large part of the painter’s oeuvre; he is said by experts to have made only 45 paintings. By comparison, Rembrandt van Rijn made around 300 paintings, Piet Mondrian about 720 and Vincent van Gogh about 900.