Wouwerman exhibition in Mauritshuis museum

Cavalry in front of a burning mill, by Wouwerman

From Dutch news agency ANP:

Mauritshuis honours forgotten horse painter

10 november 2009

The Hague – In the seventeenth century, he was at least as famous as Rembrandt. Today, Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668) has become almost forgotten in the world of museums. The Mauritshuis in The Hague now has an exhibition providing an overview of ‘the most successful Dutch painter of horses’. On Thursday, the museum will be open for Te paard! De wereld van Philips Wouwerman.

Curator Quentin Buvelot told on Tuesday that so far there had never been yet anywhere in the world an exhibition about this seventeenth century artist. Even though he had been very popular while he was alive because of his paintings in which horses play a central role. Especially European princes and noblemen really liked his representations of horsemen, soldiers, stables, hunters, farriers and armed camps.

Stadtholder William V, whose collection of paintings was the origin of the present Mauritshuis collection, owned nine Wouwerman works. For one painting, he payed the then extremely high price of 4575 guilders, more than ever had been paid for a work by Rembrandt or Vermeer.

So, many paradoxes in Wouwerman and his reputation during and after his times. Like, this painter’s work used to sell for the highest prices, but had never yet been on show at an exhibition. That Wouwerman was most popular with the aristocracy, traditionally linked to horses, made him more typical of the seventeenth century in Europe as a whole than of the Netherlands then. Then, outside the Netherlands, painters worked mainly for the “feudal” aristocracy, and/or the church. While in the Netherlands, they worked mainly for the recently emerged bourgeoisie.

Wouwerman may have been forgotten, until recently, in museums. But he was not totally forgotten: there are streets named after him in Amsterdam, The Hague, Deventer, Haarlem, Maassluis, and probably elsewhere.

1 thought on “Wouwerman exhibition in Mauritshuis museum

  1. Pingback: Dutch Mauritshuis museum and its slave-trading founder | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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