CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Tulip mania: flower fever in 17th-century Holland: selections from The Great Tulip Book, c. 1640

Exhibition: 1 March - 23 June 2001


Co-curated by Michelle Deziel, curatorial assistant, and Christine Knoke, assistant curator.

Museum press release, received 10 July 2001

Selections from The Great Tulip Book, c. 1640. An exhibition of 65 watercolors from The Great Tulip Book, c. 1640 opens March 1, 2001 and runs through July 23, 2001 at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA.

A mercantile craze for tulips, known as Tulipomania, arose in Holland during the early seventeenth century. Native to Turkey, the tulip was introduced into Europe in 1554, and quickly became popular in Holland. The insatiable demand for the beautiful and rare bulbs reached its height in 1636, when prices soared and flower merchants enjoyed great wealth.

On display are selection’s from an album of 158 watercolors that were used by a wealthy Dutch merchant and grower to show his clients the different varieties of tulips available for purchase. The inscriptions on the watercolors record the name of each variety, often the name of the grower himself or an affluent client, as well as the price and weight for each bulb.

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