Sunday, April 15, 2012

Breaking News

Confrontation in the Netherlands

The art world is in an uproar over the news, published today in Dutch newspapers, that Johannes Vermeer's beloved landscape, View of Delft, has been removed from view at the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

Considered by many scholars, and by a host of painters, as the greatest landscape ever painted, the View of Delft (1660) was very clearly not painted outside, under the changeable sky of Holland. This glaring fault has led to the current protest in the Netherlands, evidenced by the clipping (below) from an EU press bulletin. 

Dutch Artists in Protest

The Hague - Apr.15 (KH)--- Johannes Vermeer's iconic landscape painting, View of Delft, has been removed from exhibition at the Mauritshuis, a fine arts museum in The Hague. It was taken down after almost two weeks of protests by a growing number of Dutch artists who paint exclusively out-of-doors. 

Professor van Coodenkare, Dean of the Faculty at The Hague's Plein Air School, defended the protesting artists, saying that "studio paintings are a disgrace to fine art, and the painters will redouble their efforts until not one landscape painted in a studio, or even just finished inside, remains hanging to embarrass the nation."

The painters have been massing each day in front of all the venerable museums of the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam, with the notable exception of the Van Gogh Museum. Van Gogh, of course, was famous for painting under the blazing sun, a practice he continued until he went out of his mind, and subsequently shot himself.

The Minister of Culture, who initially resisted the call to take down most of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century landscapes, has apparently had a change of heart. He was quoted as saying that "the day of the carefully considered painting is justifiably over. It is time to replace slow and exquisite maturation with the freshness
of a morning's work, tossed off out-of doors."

Plans are currently being made by the painters to carry their action to other museums in Europe. Speaking on condition of anonymity, because of a fear for his life, a French curator---who was not only conceived in, but also born in an actual studio in the Batignolles---has been rallying support in Paris with his cry of "Aux barricades!"

It is yet to be determined how effective this may be.


  1. Ha ha! Well done, Sir. This is hilarious and you make an important point about landscape work - it's what the painting says, not the conditions under which it's painted, that matters in the end.

  2. Today it was announced that the Plein Air Purists are also seeking a ban on any and all paintings produced with premixed colours. Only primary colours and white are to be permitted.

    1. That's to be expected, I guess. As a consequence of your comment, I have hired a security service to guard my palette, 24/7. Thanks for the heads-up.
      I did see an ad for a kit containing a restraint which immobilizes one's right arm behind one's back, thus necessitating left-handed painting. It comes with a really useful all-weather, adjustable blindfold. We need to make good plein air painting a challenge again.

    2. Everyone knows that you are closer to God if You paint it outside. However, as a reminder to myself of the inherant evils related to studio painting, I will volunteer my living room wall as the new resting place of Vermeers view of Delft.

  3. Wonderful landscape painting and a wicked sense of humor! So glad I found your blog :)

  4. This is a message to the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Speaking for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston we will gladly accept Vermeer's "View of Delft". It will help free up some space in your basement and we'll gladly pick up the shipping, UPS, Fedex, whatever, no problem. I can personally attest to the air quality in the museum. The air in the museum is not plein, it is actually quite exceptional. I go to the museum at least three times a year and have never had a problem breathing. Look forward to the painting. We'll take real good care of it. Dank u