With Jan Steen and Frans van Mieris among the founding purchases for the museum in 1890, the Northern European collections, which span the late fifteenth through the early eighteenth centuries, have long played a fundamental role at the Art Institute of Chicago. Of the 86 paintings dating before 1600, stand-out works include Rogier van der Weyden’s Portrait of Jean Gros, Jan Gossaert’s Virgin and Child, and two handsome portraits by Corneille de Lyon. The seventeenth-century paintings include two religious subjects from 1615 and four oil sketches by Peter Paul Rubens; a superb large-scale tronie by Rembrandt van Rijn and a charming woman at a half-open door by Rembrandt and his workshop; and an exquisite landscape with the ruins of Egmond Castle by Jacob van Ruisdael. The collection of decorative arts includes an important monumental Delft vase attributed to the “Greek A” Factory about 1678, a fine collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century glassware from Antwerp and the Netherlands and an exceptional pair of ivory stocked pistols produced in Maastricht ca. 1660. The collection of prints and drawings include beautiful specimens by Rembrandt and his school, Peter Paul Rubens, Hendrick Goltzius, Jacques de Gheyn II, and Hendrick Avercamp.
Jacquelyn Coutré, Eleanor Wood Prince Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1750 (January 2020)