Willem van Aelst, A Member of the Golden Age of Dutch Painting
The exhibition of Dutch still-life painter Willem van Aelst (1627-1683) continues until May 28, 2012 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Organized by the MFAH, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst features 28 of the artist’s works culled from private and public collections in the United States and Europe.
“Van Aelst’s luxuriant compositions, rich in detail, bring to life the elegant tabletop settings of the 17thcentury. Over two dozen of his detailed, vibrant paintings are on view, filled with sumptuous fabrics, elegant stone tables, ripe fruit, artfully arranged hunting trophies and brilliant platters, cups, watches, armor and more,” said James Clifton, Director of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation and Curator of Renaissance and Baroque Painting at the MFAH.
“Also on view will be a large-scale painting, long credited to artist Willem Kalf, which was recently reattributed to Van Aelst during a technical examination by a National Gallery of Art conservation scientist. Within the exhibition, the painting will be rightly reunited with other works from the artist’s oeuvre.”
Elegance and Refinement is co-curated by Clifton and Arthur Wheelock, Curator of Northern Baroque Painting at the National Gallery of Art. The project was conceived by Tanya Paul, Ruth G. Hardman Curator of European Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, following her Ph.D. dissertation on the artist and was developed while she was a curatorial fellow at the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation in Houston.
Following Houston, the exhibition will be presented at the National Gallery of Art June 24 – October 14, 2012. A hardcover, illustrated catalogue of the same title, published by Skira Rizzoli in association with the MFAH, accompanies the exhibition. It is the first book dedicated solely to Van Aelst’s oeuvre.
About the Exhibition
The paintings in the exhibition cover the range of the artist’s career and are culled from collections including the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation (permanently on view at the MFAH) and the National Gallery of Art. Five paintings will be on loan from the Galleria Palatina at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, which holds the largest concentration of Van Aelst’s work since it was collected extensively by the Medici court and later transferred to state collections. Others works have been lent by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna; Mauritshuis, The Hague; and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Painting: A Still Life with Game and Blue Velvet Game Bag on a Marble Ledge, c. 1665 Oil on canvas. Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
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