Manhattan Masters

Rembrandt and Friends from the Frick NYC

Mauritshuis Manhattan Masters Frick Tentoonstelling

29 September 2022 – 15 January 2023

The Anniversary year concludes with a very special exhibition: ten paintings from The Frick Collection in New York. This will be a one-time opportunity to view this selection of paintings in Europe, which (with one exception) left the continent more than a hundred years ago and have been in the United States ever since.

One of the greatest masterpieces on view will be Rembrandt’s self-portrait from 1658. The painter immortalised himself many times, but many consider this self-portrait to be one of the very best. The founder of the The Frick Collection was the industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), who also built the house where the present-day museum is located.

A dream Rembrandt

Of the ten paintings in the exhibition, Rembrandt’s 1658 Self-portrait is the absolute highlight. This masterpiece will be the largest work in the exhibition, and is the most impressive of the 40-plus self-portraits Rembrandt painted during his career.

Rembrandt made this self-portrait when he was 52, at a time when he was experiencing many setbacks, having been declared bankrupt two years earlier and forced to sell his own collection and the contents of his home, and then to move house.

The master depicted himself in old-fashioned, 16th-century attire. Rembrandt thus presents himself as a celebrated painter of the past. There is no painter’s cap or palette, but the lustrous gold fabric of his robe was no coincidental choice. Rembrandt will undoubtedly have read in Karel van Mander’s famous Schilder-Boeck (‘The Book of Painters’) of 1604 how famous 16th-century painters like Jan Gossaert and Lucas van Leyden dressed in gold robes as a sign of their high status.

Vermeer's Officer and Laughing Girl

The Mauritshuis can now temporarily display four Vermeers. One of Johannes Vermeer's most attractive genre paintings is on display in the exhibition Manhattan Masters. Officer and laughing girl (c. 1657) was acquired by Frick in 1911. The painting highlights a scene from everyday life in which a young woman is placed in the light so that the viewer can clearly see that she is fully focused on the soldier opposite her. The woman has a glass of white wine in her hands. It seems innocent, but in seventeenth-century Holland, drinking wine was discouraged; it would make you debauched. As to the relationship between the two figures, Vermeer leaves you guessing as a viewer.

Vermeer Soldaat En Lachende Vrouw
Officer and Laughing Girl (ca. 1657), The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Joseph Coscia Jr. Johannes Vermeer

Masterpiece by Frans Hals

The third top piece flown over from New York is Portrait of a man by Frans Hals. Nothing is known about the commissioner: the portrait bears no family crests or inscriptions mentioning age. What is known is that Hals made this portrait towards the end of his life. He was then in his late seventies, and used a loose and spontaneous painting technique. The portrait has a lively character due to the broad strokes of white paint on the shirt, collar and cuffs.

Hals Portret Van Een Man
Portrait of a man (ca. 1660), The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Michael Bodycomb Frans Hals


Manhattan Masters is sponsored by the American Friends of the Mauritshuis, Johan Maurits Compagnie Foundation, Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, Turing Foundation, Mondriaan Fund, Marjon Ornstein Fund, The Netherland-America Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

This exhibition was made possible in part by the national government: the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands has granted an indemnity guarantee on behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

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