The Dordrechts Museum showcases six centuries of Dutch painting. Founded by art lovers and collectors as an art museum in 1842, it is one of the oldest urban museums in the Netherlands.
Its Old Masters collection focuses largely on Dordrecht. From the sixteenth century, only a handful of paintings from local churches have survived – such as The Last Supper by Willem Key. The seventeenth century, however, is a strong presence, with representative paintings by Dordrecht-born artists such as Aelbert Cuyp, his father Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp and uncle Benjamin Cuyp, as well as work by Rembrandt pupils such as Ferdinand Bol, Samuel van Hoogstraten, Nicolaes Maes, Jacobus Leveck, and Arent de Gelder. When we add in paintings by artists such as Roelant Savery, Jan Both, Balthasar van der Ast, and Adriaen Coorte, as well as views of Dordrecht by Adam Willaerts and Jan van Goyen, among others, a more comprehensive picture of seventeenth-century Dutch painting and the interaction between painters from different cities emerges.
International accents added in recent years, including landscapes with cows by Thomas Gainsborough and J.M.W. Turner, show Cuyp’s influence. Still lifes and trompe l’oeils around Van Hoogstraten also provide a wider context. The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are represented with paintings, drawings, and prints by artists from Dordrecht such as Arnold Houbraken, Godefridus Schalcken, Arnold Boonen, Abraham Busschop, and Aert Schouman. Decorative painting with room hangings by Schouman and the brothers Abraham and Jacob van Strij is another area of emphasis in the collection.
As regards the period after 1800, the collection has a more national focus, although works by foreign painters have also been acquired (Mancini, Fantin-Latour, Boudin, Daubigny etc.). Noteworthy subsets of the collection include the French-Romantic work of Dordrecht-born Ary Scheffer and a fine cluster of paintings by the Hague School and Amsterdam Impressionists. Finally, there is a varied but excellent section of modern and contemporary paintings, which also continues to grow.
Drs. Sander Paarlberg, Curator of Old Master Paintings (January 2023)
Dordrechts Museum II: 1700 – 1850: catalogus van schilderijen