From the March issue of Apollo: preview and subscribe here
With TEFAF (13–22 March) comes a wealth of exhibitions and events in and around Maastricht offering impressive Old Master and contemporary displays. From 6 March–28 June, the Bonnefantenmuseum celebrates Henri de Fromantiou with a broad selection of works by this often overlooked 17th-century still life painter (Avenue Céramique 250; +31 (0)43 329 0190). This is the first retrospective of the Maastricht-born artist, and loans from all over the world make the show possible. The prestigious and sumptuous arrangements of game, fruit and flowers on display reflect the artist’s role as a court painter, and many of these still lifes were created for the palaces of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg.
Nearby, Museum aan het Vrijthof presents the work of photographer Marie Cécile Thijs, whose portraiture evokes Dutch Golden Age painting (Vrijthof 18; +31 (0)43 321 1327). The show, ‘Lust for Light’ (1 March–31 May), includes her playful White Collar series, in which the artist photographed a rare 17th-century ruff drawn from the Rijksmuseum’s collection – this was then placed on to her models afterwards (including a cat) through digital imaging. A five-minute walk away, Guus Röell again welcomes visitors to his annual Open House from 11–22 March (Tongersestraat 2; +31 (0)65 321 1649). Röell’s own collection of Dutch, English and Portuguese art is shown alongside invited guest collections. This year, these include Kunstkammer objects from Álvaro Roquette and Pedro Aguiar-Branco, English furniture from Hares Antiques, and recent works by Dutch sculptor Arthur Spronken. The event also features Röell’s nightly Collectors’ Dinners.
Located in the surrounds of St John’s Church, in the town’s main square, the Maastricht Antiquarian Book & Print Fair returns for its 8th edition from 13–15 March, with some 30 antiquarian booksellers from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. Highlights this year include an illustrated study of beetles by Johann Eusebius Voet (1706–78) at Asher Rare Books and Antiquariaat FORUM, alongside 576 hand-coloured engravings of butterflies and insects bound in 16 books, by the natural history illustrator Edward Donovan (1768–1837), at Antiquariaat De Vries & De Vries. For antique maps, head to Maastricht-based specialist Paul Bremmers, who offers a large, detailed wall chart of Maastricht during the 1748 French siege.
Blockbuster exhibitions are also staged in the Dutch capital, including the Rijksmuseum’s ‘Late Rembrandt’, which runs until 17 May (Museumstraat 1; +31 (0)20 674 7000). Jointly presented with London’s National Gallery, the show includes 40 paintings, 20 drawings and 30 prints all produced in Amsterdam by the artist between 1652 and 1669. On view are four works not seen in London, including Portrait of Jan Six. Elsewhere, the Van Gogh Museum (Paulus Potterstraat 7; +31 (0)20 570 5200) presents a new display of its permanent collection, while the Stedelijk Museum hosts the first solo show in the Netherlands of British artist Ed Atkins (b. 1982) until 31 May (Museumplein 10; +31 (0)20 573 2911). Following his recent show at London’s Serpentine Galleries, the artist develops his practice of experimenting with digital technologies. At The Hague, meanwhile, the Mauritshuis displays 36 masterpieces from the Frick Collection, which have never before been seen together outside New York (Plein 29; +31 (0)70 302 3456). This is the first major exhibition in the museum’s new wing since its reopening, and it features works by Cimabue, Memling, Van Eyck and Ingres.
Elsewhere in the Netherlands, the Teylers Museum in Haarlem presents ‘Drawn from the Antique: Artists & the Classical Ideal’, a selection of 35 works examining the role of antique sculpture in art education and practice from the Renaissance through to the 19th century (Spaarne 16; +31 (0)23 516 0960). Considering the role of both artists’ workshops and academies, the show features celebrated works by Goltzius, Sweerts and Joseph Wright of Derby, as well as rarely exhibited pieces by Rubens and Turner. Running from 11 March to 31 May, the exhibition then travels to London’s Sir John Soane’s Museum in June.
Not to be missed at Utrecht’s Centraal Museum is a major monographic exhibition dedicated to the Dutch painter Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638), running until 25 May (Nicolaaskerkhof 10; +31 (0)30 236 2362). A collaboration with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the MFA Houston and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, ‘Pleasure and Piety’ showcases 40 of Wtewael’s best works, including religious and mythological scenes, and argues for his status as the most important painter working in the Northern Netherlandish mannerist style. Further north in Groningen, ‘The Secret of Dresden: From Rembrandt to Canaletto’ runs at the Groninger Museum until 25 May (Museumeiland 1; +31 (0)50 366 6555). Telling the story of art in 18th-century Saxony, the show is made up of a selection of works drawn from the impressive collection of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
It’s also worth travelling into Belgium from Maastricht this month. In Brussels, BOZAR (Rue Ravenstein 23; +32 (0)2 507 82 00) has plenty to see, including ‘Faces Then’, a large-scale examination of Renaissance portraits from the Low Countries (until 17 May), which includes a few exceptional loans such as Frans Floris de Vriendt’s Portrait of an Old Woman (1558). ‘Faces Now’, a display of 31 photography portraits, complements the show. Also in the Belgian capital, Eurantica – The Brussels Fine Art Fair (20–29 March) attracts over 115 international galleries, drawing on its reputation as a leading fair for antiques specialists. With a special focus on ‘The Portrait’, the event offers an opportunity to view different styles of portraiture, in a range of works from Old Masters to contemporary photographs.
In Germany, the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum in Aachen – only a half-hour drive from Maastricht – mounts ‘Collector’s Happiness: 100 Masterpieces of the Marks-Thomée-Collection’, from 12 March–21 June (Wilhelmstrasse 18; +49 (0)241 47980). The exhibition offers a glimpse into one of Germany’s finest private collections from the early 20th century, and includes almost 100 works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Further east in Bonn, the Bundeskunsthalle (Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4; +49 (0)228 91710) stages ‘Il Divino: Homage to Michelangelo’ (until 25 May). Michelangelo’s influence on European art from the Renaissance to the present is explored in works by Raphael, Pontormo and Rubens, through to artists such as Rodin, Cézanne, Mapplethorpe and Struth. Finally, Impressionist masterpieces steal the show at Frankfurt’s Städel Museum, as the museum celebrates its bicentenary (Dürerstrasse 2; +49 (0)69 605098 170). ‘Monet and the
Birth of Impressionism’ (11 March–21 June) includes over 100 works tracing the development of the movement between the early 1860s and 1880.
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First Look: Henri de Fromantiou at the Bonnefantenmuseum (Lars Hendrikman)
Review: ‘Rembrandt: The Late Works’ at the National Gallery, London (Annabel Sheen)
Travelling Treasures: The Frick Collection at the Mauritshuis (Emma Crichton-Miller)
The Apollo 40 Under 40 (including Ed Atkins)
First Look: ‘The Sultan’s World’ at BOZAR (Guido Messling)
Don’t blame the culture wars for Tate Britain’s disappointing rehang