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"Still Life Painting of the Netherlands 1550-1720"
1999-10-31 until 2000-01-09
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, , USA United States of America

In the 17th century tens of thousands of still lifes were produced — paintings on canvas, sheets of copper and wood panels — all lovingly created and eagerly purchased. The exhibition Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands, 1550–1720, on view in the United States exclusively at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), surveys the entire golden age of this popular genre for the first time. Never has an exhibition drawn together 70 of the finest still lifes in all their variety: vibrant flowers, tantalizing fruits, sumptuous banquets, laden market tables or desks, and the visual trickery of paintings known as trompe l’oeil (fool the eye). Artists represented include Rembrandt and nearly 50 of the countless lesser-known, gifted men and women whose works were once so sought after. The exhibition draws significantly from the collections of the CMA and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The National Gallery in London, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Mauritshuis in the Hague are among the 53 other museums and private collections throughout northern Europe and North America that are lending works to the show.

Still-Life Paintings opens here on Sunday, Oct. 31, 1999, and remains on view through the holidays until Jan. 9, 2000. Its only other venue has been the Rijksmuseum (through Sept. 19, 1999), which co-organized the show with the CMA and hosted news media from 16 nations at its June 1999 opening. The Cleveland showing of the exhibition is sponsored by National City Bank. Research and planning initiatives were supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency. The exhibition is also supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Admission is free to the exhibition in Cleveland and to most of the special programs complementing it. A 40-minute recorded tour narrated by CMA Acting Director Kate M. Sellers will be available for $4.

No one should miss such a rare opportunity to see these gorgeous paintings from the golden age of Dutch art, says Ms. Sellers. The still life tradition is one of the greatest contributions of that culture to the history of art, with an amazing number of talented masters, and this show gathers together some of the best works they ever produced. Be they of banquets or books, these paintings are so easy to look at, so wonderful to linger over. Cleveland’s visitors will also see in our newly acquired masterpiece by Amsterdam painter Frans Hals — contemporary with many of these still lifes — a great portrait of just the sort of successful Dutch merchant who was an eager customer of these artists.

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