Atlantic Crossings: Flemish Paintings in the United States, from 1780 to the Present
Old Master paintings, including seventeenth-century Flemish pictures, were available in limited numbers in the United States by the late eighteenth century. Since then, numerous works by, or presumed to be by, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and their contemporaries have arrived on the nation’s shores. The long lives of many Flemish paintings that crossed the Atlantic—and that, in some cases, would later return to Flanders—have often been affected by political, economic, and cultural changes. This lecture examines this rich history of more than two centuries, focusing on the stories of the paintings brought over early on by refugees such as Henri and Marie Louise Stier d’Aertselaer as well as Joseph Bonaparte; the abundant Flemish holdings amassed by some of America’s large and small museums; the influence of several noted individual collectors; and, in a more general sense, the evolving American taste for the art of Rubens, Van Dyck, and their contemporaries.
Independent art historian, Princeton, NJ
Esmée Quodbach is an independent art historian and provenance researcher based in Princeton, New Jersey. Educated at Utrecht University, she is a specialist in seventeenth-century Dutch painting and the history of collecting. From 2007 through 2020, she was on staff at The Frick Collection, New York, where she last served as the Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Director of the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting. Previously, she held research positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Quodbach has lectured and published widely on Dutch and Flemish painting and the history of collecting. She is the author of The Age of Rembrandt in New York: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2007), and the editor of the companion volumes Holland’s Golden Age in America: Collecting the Art of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals (2014) and America and the Art of Flanders: Collecting Paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Their Circles (2020); as well as “What’s Mine Is Yours”: Private Collectors and Public Patronage in the United States (2021). A collection of essays, The Evolving House Museum: Art Collectors and Their Residences, Then and Now, co-edited with Margaret Iacono, is forthcoming in 2023.