Johananes Vermeer, Paintings of "Chinoiserie,"
Turbans, and Pearls of the Orient by Daniel Rohlfing
The Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665,
The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, the Hague
It's all in her eyes, a brightness, an innocence, a confidence and a willingness to look toward the future. In "Girl with the Pearl Earring," Johannes Vermeer personifies the essence of Holland's Golden Age.
This painting is approximately 350 years old. At the time of its creation, it was a most modern piece. The girl is adorned in symbols of high international style, featuring a fashionable blue and gold turban of near eastern origins with a yellow veil trailing behind. Most prominent is the large shiny pearl earring dangling from the shadows, an oriental symbol of wealth and prestige. This adornment shows her status, a young and beautiful daughter of Holland with a rich and promising future. Her lips are parted as if about to speak and Vermeer leaves us anticipating what wondrous things this modern young woman might have to say.
Excerpt from the film, The Girl With the Pearl Earring --
In this scene, Johannes Vermeer (played by Colin Firth)
explains to his servant girl (played by Scarlett Johansson)
the workings of the camera obscura.
This painting is either a portrait or a tronie (a tronie – Dutch for face). A tronie is a sub genre of portrait painting, an image of no one in particular, but a figure painted to typify an individual of a group. Be it portrait or tronie, this young woman captures and amplifies the spirit of Holland's Golden Age. In the seventeenth century, Holland was a trend setting international society. Dutch ships traversed the world's oceans and the Dutch people were open to new ideas, tastes and textures. Their ships brought spices and silk back hope to Europe. A consequence of their trade was a flood of new ideas; ever increasing knowledge of foreign languages, exotic products, plants and resources, intriguing traditions, fanciful styles, and eye-opening science.
Head of a Girl
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
By 1665 when Vermeer is thought to have painted Girl with the Pearl Earring, the American Dutch colony of New Amsterdam had been in existence for fifty years, and would soon change its name to New York in 1667. The Dutch view of the world included the new world as a fact. They were truly one of the world's first globally thinking people. She is the embodiment of a people embracing new ideas, new opportunities along with new ways of thinking. She seems untethered to the confines of tradition and the limiting entanglements of orthodoxy.
Three hundred and fifty years from now, people will be looking back at our art. Will they see in our faces and eyes the same kind of optimism that is portrayed in the Girl with a Pearl Earring? When images of our day have accumulated the craquelure of time, will the essence of our hope still linger in our art as it does in Vermeer's painting?
Today, there are only 34 paintings firmly attributed to Johannes Vermeer. After three early historical works and a few scenes of his native Delft, most of Vermeer's paintings are “genre works,” interior scenes with one or two figures, marked by side light and effective use of light and shadow.
Head of a Girl resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is similar in composition to the Girl with a Pearl Earring. In fact, this girl is also wearing a pearl earring, although more discreetly. She is also is looking over her shoulder, her face turned confidently toward us, her hair combed back from her forehead.
Girl with a Flute, the National Gallery,
Washington D.C., Widner Collection
The Girl with the Red Hat, 1665-67
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
The Girl with a Flute resides in the National Gallery in Washington. She seems detached from the context of the picture. But similarly to the Girl with a Pearl Earring, this girl has her lips parted as if she is about to speak.
Her head is shadowed by the stylish Chinese conical hat – part of the chinoiserie so popular in Holland at the time.
Girl with a Red Hat is also in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. This painting has the same posture, only this time, the girl is looking over her right shoulder. Here, Vermeer uses the shadow of the hat falling onto the features of the girl's face to rouse our curiosity. And again, notice her earrings.
Honthorst Gerrit The Violin Player 1626
Jacob Van Ruisdael, Haarlem Bleaching Grounds, 1670-75
Carel Fabritius, The Goldfinch 1654
As for the Girl with a Pearl Earring, she and 35 companion works from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in the Hague will be visiting San Francisco's de Young Museum, January 26 through June 2, 2013. These paintings feature the best of 17th century Dutch painting and include works by Carel Fabritius, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Abraham van Beyeren, Pieter Claesz, Garrit van Honthrost, and Jacob van Ruisdael. The jewels of this collection are on tour while the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis receives a two year long restoration. We are pleased the de Young was able to bring them to San Francisco. The exhibition runs through June 2nd.
Rembrand van Rijn, Self Portrait, c 1669
Abraham Van Beyeren, Banquet Still LIfe, 1655
Jan Steen, As the Old Sing, So Twitter the Young,
Svend pictured in , "Svend Svendsen and His Work," Arts for America 6 (Feb. 1897).
Early twentieth century Norwegian immigrant Svend Rasmussen Svendsen exhibited his paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Academy of Design. He was the master at painting snow scenes, and his work is displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art.
Svend was born in Nittedal, in Akershus Amt, Norway in 1864. After a move and stay in Kristiania, Norway, Rasmus and Marie Svendsen packed up their fifteen year old Svend and emigrated to America. The family settled in Chicago in 1881. Young Svend flourished in Chicago, first working as a lithographic artist while growing ever more enchanted with the vibrant artistic life of Chicago. He dedicated himself to painting and energetically went about exhibiting his work.
In Norway, young Svend had studied with engraver Fritz Thaulow. As a mentor, Thaulow instilled in the young painter a penchant for creating snowy wintertime scenery. During his career, Svend traveled to Norway on several occasions, and many of his scenes were inspired by the snowy Norwegian countryside.
Svend's early success was due mostly to self-taught skills. His rising star was recognized early on in the Chicago art scene. Later in his career, he exhibited at the 1897 Nashville Exposition and the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, and his works were exhibited often at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago. His paintings sold well, and were included in the collections of many notable Chicagoans of his day, with the most recognizable name today being that of attorney Clarence Darrow. As an established painter, he was able to travel to Paris for study with Edward F. Ertz at the Academie Delecluse.
"Faggot Gatherer on Snowy Road," Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
"Winter Landscape" in the Fine Arts Collection
of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
Jackson Park, Chicago
the Christine Schwartz Collection
The art lovers and critics of Svend Svendsen's day were intrigued by his use of heightened color, especially in winter scenes with intense pinks and purples reflected on the snow, with these colors intensified by encroaching shadows. By 1896, his Chicago reputation was growing, when he was lauded as one of Chicago's most important modernist painters.
"Winter Scene," Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
Unlike Svend's paintings, his final years of life were not so glowing. His life was destroyed by alcoholism, tragically causing him to disappear from Chicago's art scene. It is reported that an involved patron tried to revive Svend and his career, but this attempt failed. Svend faded into obscurity. It was erroneously reported that he had died in 1831, but in 1945, the Chicago Tribune published his obituary referring to the Norwegian master as "the famous scenic artist."
Today, Svend Svendsen's work is celebrated for much the same reasons art critics and art lovers praised him during height of his career. Today, art lovers find his wintery colors amazing! He is revered by the Norwegian American community and by his adopted hometown of Chicago. His works are proudly displayed by St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, the University of Minnesota, and Chicago's Spanierman Gallery, and they reside in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art. We are proud to have Svend Svendsen's paintings represented in our gallery's collection, along with Norwegian-American painters Nels Hagerup, Paul Lauritz, and Carl Henrick Jonnevold.
Geoffrey Holder, "Simply Marvelous"A rare performance with an audience, providing a glimpse into the private life and philosophy of this marvelously multifaceted artist.
While recently browsing Netflix film choices, I discovered the 1976 film "Swashbuckler." Its impressive cast drew my attention, Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle, Anjelica Huston, Genevieve Bujold, Beau Bridges, and Geoffrey Holder.
I cannot recommend you see this film, other than as a curiosity to see all these stars in a swashbuckling romp. But it left me wanting to learn more about Geoffrey Holder. I did some digging and found his amazing paintings.
Many of us first became aware of Geoffrey Holder in the early 1970's when he was featured in 7-Up commercials. Geoffrey's broad smiling face and deep baritone voice patiently explained the difference between "cola nuts, and un-cola nuts". His signature laugh and tall stature has gained him widespread fame, while his talents in the world of dance have lead to a monumental career as a dancer and choreographer. He has participated in a large body of work with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and later won two Tony Awards for his direction and costume design for The Whiz as well as his work in movies and recording.
But I was surprised to learn that Geoffrey has also expressed himself through painting.
His paintings like the rest of his artistic life, owes much to his Caribbean heritage. Geoffrey has blended his island roots with African colors and rhythms. He's mixed his Trinidad heritage with a dash of flair from the African American experience and stirred in influences from the post impressionists. He paintings also owe much to Geoffrey's experience with dance, as his paintings show a balance and grace along with emotional expression.
Geoffrey Holder, Last Mac
Geoffrey Holder, Lena A gift to singer Lena Horn
The artistry in Geoffrey's paintings reflect an inner beauty found throughout his many artistic endeavors. He has provided a wide body of work, a banquet through the spoken word, through acting, dance, design and painting, and it is all Geoffrey Holder.
All his life, Geoffrey has been a painter. Born in 1930, Geoffrey credits his love of painting from watching his older brother Boscoe, who has since become a successful artist in Great Britain. Young Geoffrey imitated his brother as they both drew inspiration from their Caribbean heritage and surroundings.
In 1952, Geoffrey was given a huge opportunity thanks to his incredible dancing talents. Choreographer Agnes de Mille saw Holder dance on the island of St. Thomas and
Geoffrey Holder, Lovers
invited Geoffrey to New York where he studied at the Katherine Dunham School of Dance. He became a principal dancer of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York for 1955 and 1956.
He also met and married dancer Carmen de Lavallade who was a cast mate in Truman Capote's 1954 Caribbean musical, House of Flowers.
The cast included Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Juanita Hall, Ray Walston, Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder. Geoffrey was the one responsible in recruiting a trio of steel drum musicians from Trinidad for the production.
In 1957, he received a high honor for his painting when he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in painting. His career then moved to movies (including a James Bond film) during the 1960's and his 7-Up association added to his fame in the early 1970's. Later in 1975, he received Tony Awards for his direction and costume design for the Wiz.
Geoffrey Holder, Blue Bow
Geoffrey Holder, Bouquet
Geoffrey Holder, Flower in her Hair
But even with all of this going on in his dancing, directing and acting careers, he says he always painted and it has been how he has always made his living, with his work receiving high praise in exhibitions and inclusion in notable collections.
Critics note that nearly everything in Geoffrey's painting has notes of influence from his native Trinidad. They have an unmistakable tropical palette, vibrant colors providing pleasing harmonies. His colors seem to dance as they tell the stories of his homeland. Technically he has moved from oils to a combination of oil, wax, and grease-based pencils and sticks to achieve a variety of eye-pleasing effects.
Geoffrey Holder, Neptune
Geoffrey Holder, Tempo
Geoffrey Holder, Girl Talk
His painting at times shows an influence of the post impressionists, such as his Lena (above) which is in part an homage to the portrait styles of Amadeo Modigliani. And not far beneath Geoffrey's surface are inspirations of Paul Gauguin. Geoffrey visits Paris annually, and has painted there extensively, recharging his creative batteries.
Although curiosity may entice you to watch Geoffrey's 1976 film Swashbuckler, I highly recommend Carmen and Geoffrey. It was filmed in 2009 and documents the careers of Geoffrey and his wife, dancer Carmen De Lavallade, and it is available on Netflix.
GALLERY HOURS are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. We are also available for scheduled appointments, especially for those who wish to view the gallery on Mondays or Tuesdays. Please call Dan at the gallery and schedule a visit, or call him on his cell, phone, 510-414-9821
When asked, do you like living in Bodega Bay, here's one possible answer ... from Dan's I-Phone ... a
wide angle view of
Bodega Bay's extraordinarily calm Inner Harbor from the Bodega Bay Post Office parking lot during "King Tide," Dec 14
Recently in the Santa Rosa's Press Democrat,"County Planners Oppose Coastal Park Fees." Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery wishes to offer kudos our Supervisor, Efren Carillo. The Press Democrat's article stated, "The highly-anticipated recommendation provides ammunition for fee opponents. They include county Supervisor Efren Carrillo, whose district includes the coast and who Thursday vowed to fight the fee proposal 'on every front.'"
Richard Benefield, Deputy Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has announced a 5 year long agreement with the Louvre in Paris to bring priceless works of art to the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum. Prior to joining the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Richard Benefield was formerly the Director of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco's Presidio and Director of the Harvard University Art Museums.
Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery 1785 Coast Highway One, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, 707-875-2911| Map & Location Celebrating Early California, Western and American Art
- original paintings by famous artists of the past Now showing ... "New to Us," Recently acquired works by Joshua Meador plus Bodega Bay resident artists
Jean Warren (watercolors), Diane Perry (photography), and Linda Sorensen (oil paintings)
IN Santa Rosa The Annex Galleries specializing in 19th, 20th, and 21st century American and European fine prints
now showing ... Stanley William Hayter and the influence of Atelier The Annex Galleries is a member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA). http://www.AnnexGalleries.com| Back to the Top
IN CALISTOGA the Lee Youngman Gallery
Featuring the work of contemporary painter Paul Youngman,
and the works of famed painter, Ralph Love (1907-1992) http://www.leeyoungmangalleries.com | Back to the Top
Left ... Lee Youngman, Right ... Paul Yougman
IN PETALUMAVintage Bank Antiques Vintage Bank Antiques is located in Historic Downtown Petaluma, corner of Western Avenue and Petaluma Blvd. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Warren Davis and the rest of the team at Vintage Bank Antiques has assembled a spectacular inventory of paintings. From the 18th Century to Contemporary Artists. We have paintings to suit every price point and collector level.
If you have a painting for sale, please consider Vintage Bank Antiques. Contact Warren Davis directly at WarrenDavisPaintings@yahoo.com 101 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA 94952, ph: 707.769.3097 http://vintagebankantiques.com | Back to the Top
San Francisco Legion of Honor
Royal Treasures from the Louvre
Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette
Nov 17 - Mar 17
San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum
- The Radical Camera:
New York's Photo League, 1936-1951through Jan 21 - California Dreaming
Jewish Life in the Bay Area from
the Gold Rush to the Presentthrough Apr 28
Oakland Oakland Museum of California ongoingGallery of California Art
showcasing over 800 works from the OMCA's collection
Playing with Fire:
Artists of the California Studio Glass Movement
through Mar 24
San Francisco SFMOMA
Jasper Johns, through Feb 3
Jay Defeo, through Feb 3 Selections from the SFMOMA Collection
Santa Rosa Sonoma County Museum -Thomas Cole's (1801-1848)
Peace at SunsetThrough Jan 13 -The California Landscape, Conservation & Collections at the Sonoma County Museum, through Jan 13
Bolinas Bolinas Museum featuring their permanent collection,
including Ludmilla and Thadeus Welch,
Arthur William Best, Jack Wisby, Russell Chatham,
(thumbnail right ... a portion of
Elizabeth Holland McDaniel's Bolinas Embarcadero.
The green roof building on Wharf Street
is the Bolinas Museum)