2013年11月30日 星期六

For Fervent Fans of the Dutch Masters, ‘It’s a Dream Come True’ 在紐約親近荷蘭畫派大師之作

For Fervent Fans of the Dutch Masters, ‘It’s a Dream Come True’

November 30, 2013
Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, center, an avid fan of Vermeer, is flanked by works by that Dutch master at the Frick Collection’s popular show “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting From the Mauritshuis.”
Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, center, an avid fan of Vermeer, is flanked by works by that Dutch master at the Frick Collection’s popular show “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting From the Mauritshuis.”
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, a molecular biologist from Tokyo, really — really — loves Johannes Vermeer. He has traveled around the world to visit 34 of the 36 paintings known or believed to be Vermeers.
And last year he accepted a visiting professorship in New York in large part to witness an extraordinarily rare occurrence: the Frick Collection’s own three splendid Vermeers and three Rembrandts joined briefly by 15 works on loan from one of the world’s best Dutch collections, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, including one of the most famous faces in Western art, “Girl With a Pearl Earring.”
A halo surrounds Golden Age paintings from the Northern Netherlands more than almost any period of art. The Dutch masters of the 17th century — among them Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, Fabritius — draw loyal and obsessive museumgoers who rival those Wagner fanatics who travel the world to hear every “Ring” cycle.
Like Mr. Fukuoka, they arrange their vacations, their business trips, their reading, their friends and a good portion of the rest of their lives around seeing the quiet masterpieces created during one of the high points in painting’s history. The Frick show “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals” — made possible because the Mauritshuis is loaning out its treasures during an extensive renovation — broke a single-day attendance record during the exhibition’s first weekend. But a convergence is also driving traffic to the exhibition: With four Vermeers at the Frick through Jan. 19, five in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, four at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and one attributed, in whole or in part, to Vermeer now on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Eastern Seaboard temporarily features 38.8 percent of all known Vermeers, accessible by Amtrak. (A reported 37th painting has long been disputed.)
“It’s a dream come true,” Dr. Fukuoka said during a recent visit to the Frick, explaining that, as a young man, he fell in love with Vermeer’s work while researching the history of the microscope in Delft, the artist’s hometown. “He doesn’t try to interpret the world,” he said. “There’s no egocentrism. He just tried to describe the world as it was. I think of him as a photographer in an age before photography.”
Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” is on loan to the Frick.
Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” is on loan to the Frick.
Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
Dr. Fukuoka was so moved that he organized his own Vermeer exhibition in Tokyo last year, displaying high-resolution framed photographs of the paintings in a gallery that he rented, drawing 150,000 visitors over 10 months despite having not a single actual painting. (A show of Mauritshuis works on view at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum last year, including “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” drew more than a million visitors over just two and a half months.)
The line forms early, in rain or bitter cold, for the Frick show, whose timed tickets cost $20 and include the audio guide. (Admission this Friday night and other selected Friday nights is free.)
In addition to general Dutch masters mania, the show is also benefiting from the popularity of “The Goldfinch,” the new novel by Donna Tartt; the book is inspired by a small, powerful painting of the same title, on loan from the Mauritshuis, by Carel Fabritius, a student of Rembrandt who died young. Heidi Rosenau, a spokeswoman for the Frick, said that the museum has felt the newfound popularity of the Fabritius painting: For every 1,000 postcards it sold of “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” about 800 of “The Goldfinch” have been sold since the show opened on Oct. 22.
William Thurston, a gastroenterologist from San Jose, Calif., caught a plane to New York just to see the Frick show and attend a lecture on the visiting Dutch works by the Mauritshuis’s senior curator, Quentin Buvelot.
“I wouldn’t miss something like this,” Dr. Thurston said. “The history of art and the history of Western culture are what I’m interested in, and they’re so woven together, it’s just wonderful for me to come see things like this.” His passion is not limited to the Dutch; he has flown to New York on three consecutive weekends for Frick lectures about the Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini and traveled to Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington specifically to see shows covering much of the sweep of Western art. “I organize all my travel time around things like this,” he said.
Jonathan Janson, an aficionado of Dutch painting who is behind the most popular and perhaps most obsessive amateur Vermeer website, essentialvermeer.com, said that in his experience, a love of Dutch painting tends to peak with Vermeer and Rembrandt.
“For example, there really aren’t a lot of Frans Hals people out there, besides scholars and dealers, that I’ve found,” said Mr. Janson, an American painter who lives in Rome and also maintains a Rembrandt site. “After the big two, there’s sort of a ledge.”
But that said, Dutch painting fans of all sorts seek him out as something of a high command of amateur ardor, which makes sense given that he says he sometimes spends five hours a day working on his Vermeer site.
“It might be hard to believe, but there are people traipsing around the world all the time in search of these kinds of paintings,” he said. “And I guess I hear from them because they want to find somebody else who knows why they’re doing this kind of crazy thing.”
With longing, he added, “I wish I could be in New York right now.”


Damon Winter/The New York Times
東京的分子生物學家福岡伸一(Shin-Ichi Fukuoka)從心底里喜歡約翰尼斯·弗美爾(Johannes Vermeer)。他到世界各地去欣賞弗美爾的畫作,在36幅已知或據信出自弗美爾之手的作品中,他看過34幅。
去年,他接受了一個紐約的訪問教授邀請,這很大程度上是因為他想要 親眼見證一場非同尋常、難得一見的盛事:弗里克收藏(Frick Collection)藝術博物館收藏的三幅弗美爾佳作、三幅倫勃朗以及從世界頂級的荷蘭畫派收藏之一——海牙的毛里茨住宅皇家美術館 (Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis)借來的15幅作品,其中包括西方藝術史上最著名的面孔之一——《戴珍珠耳環的少女》(Girl With a Pearl Earring)。
與福岡先生一樣,他們的度假、出差、閱讀、朋友和其他相當大一部分 生活,都是圍繞着欣賞這些寂靜無聲的繪畫史巔峰之作進行安排的。弗里克的這次「弗美爾、倫勃朗和哈爾斯」(Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals)展覽——多虧了毛里茨美術館在大規模翻新期間外借了館藏,才促成了這次展覽——在開幕後的第一個周末就打破了單日參觀人數紀錄。不過這股熱潮也 是因為幾場盛事湊到了一起:弗里克博物館的四幅弗美爾的作品展出到1月19日,與此同時,大都會藝術博物館(Metropolitan Museum of Art)展出着五幅弗美爾,華盛頓的國家藝術館(National Gallery of Art)展出着四幅弗美爾,還有一幅作品被認為可能有部分或全部都是弗美爾創作的,現在借給了費城藝術博物館(Philadelphia Museum of Art),這意味着,在弗美爾所有的已知畫作中,美國東海岸目前擁有其中的38.8%,乘坐美鐵(Amtrak)就可以參觀完這些作品。(坊間曾傳出找到 了第37幅弗美爾,但始終存在爭議。)
福岡博士在最近參觀弗里克博物館時說,「這是圓了我的一個夢,」他 說年輕的時候曾在弗美爾的家鄉代爾夫特研究顯微鏡的歷史,那時他就愛上了弗美爾的作品。他說,「他從沒有試圖解讀這個世界。沒有以自我為中心。他只是嘗試 描繪世界本來的樣子。我把他看做是沒有照相機的時代的一名攝影師。」
Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
福岡博士被深深打動,以至於去年在東京自己辦了一個弗美爾畫展。他 把弗美爾畫作的高分辨率照片放在相框里,在一個租來的畫廊里進行展示,儘管沒有一幅真正的作品,這次展出還是在10個月的時間裡吸引了15萬參觀者。(去 年,東京都美術館[Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum]展出了毛里茨美術館的藏品,其中包括《戴珍珠耳環的少女》,2個半月的時間裡吸引了超過100萬參觀者。)
除了總體上對荷蘭繪畫大師的狂熱,這次展覽還得益於唐娜·塔特 (Donna Tartt)的新小說《金翅雀》(The Goldfinch);這本書的靈感來自於一幅同名的著名小畫,是從毛里茨美術館借來的法布利契亞斯。英年早逝的法布利契亞斯曾是倫勃朗的學生。弗里克發 言人海迪·羅斯諾(Heidi Rosenau)說,博物館已經感受到一股新出現的法布利契亞斯熱潮:自從展覽10月22日開幕以來,每賣出1000張《戴珍珠耳環的少女》的明信片,就 有800張《金翅雀》的明信片售出。
加州聖何塞的胃腸病學家威廉·瑟斯頓(William Thurston) 為了看弗里克展,專程乘飛機前往紐約,並參加了一個關於荷蘭畫派的講座,主講人是毛里茨高級策展人比昆廷·弗洛(Quentin Buvelot)。
瑟斯頓說,「這樣的活動我絕不會錯過。藝術史和西方文化史是我所感 興趣的,它們是交織在一起的,對於我來說,能看到這樣的東西太棒了。」他的興趣不僅限於荷蘭;他曾連續三個周末飛到紐約,聽弗里克博物館主辦的關於意大利 文藝復興大師喬瓦尼·貝利尼(Giovanni Bellini)的講座,並前往費城、聖路易斯和華盛頓,專門去看西方藝術的展覽。他說,「這些活動是我旅行安排的核心。」
荷蘭繪畫愛好者喬納森·詹森(Jonathan Janson)創辦了essentialvermeer.com,是最受歡迎、或許也是最專註的業餘弗美爾主題網站。他說,根據他的經驗,對荷蘭繪畫的熱愛往往在弗美爾和倫勃朗兩個人身上達到頂點。