Information from the museum website, 10 October 2011
The exhibition The Dutch Golden Age, held at the Pinacotheque de Paris in the fall of 2009 around the treasures of the Rijksmuseum, made it possible to highlight this unique period in Europe during which an important human revolution took place a century and a half before that of France.
The Dutch Golden Age refers to a period that saw the rise of a merchant class to political power. This country, which in the seventeenth century rose to economic wealth, is one of the few places in Europe where war, Inquisition and religious intolerance did not reign. It became a refuge for artists, writers and philosophers who could not express themselves freely anywhere else.
An extraordinary artistic movement then developed, supported by a new class of collectors: the merchants and the bourgeois. In Holland, collecting was no longer the preserve of aristocrats, as elsewhere in Europe.
The exceptional collection assembled by George and Ilone Kremer during more than sixteen years is symbolic: as if this couple are direct descendants of this new class of collecting merchants. Like their pre-decessors, George and Ilone Kremer made their fortunes in international trade. They are passionate collectors, scholars, who no doubt know their artworks and artists better than many Dutch specialists and art historians. The couple put together a unique collection of Dutch masters, from Rembrandt to Frans Hals through Pieter de Hooch, Gerrit Dou and Gerrit van Honthorst. They also attach great importance to masters that today are less well known but equally essential at the time.
The Pinacotheque de Paris presents a collection of fifty-seven exceptional works that emphasize the technique of chiaroscuro, developed and widely disseminated during the Dutch Golden Age.
The lay-out of the exhibition focuses on genre scenes and social relations between the different trades in seventeenth century Holland and reveals the advent of the bourgeoisie in the world of art lovers and collectors. The exhibition also presents still lifes and landscapes representative of this period.
Check out the website of the Kremer Collection