Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ coming to San Francisco


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You may have seen Scarlett Johansson impersonate her onscreen; now you can see her in the flesh, or, should we say, in the oil: Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl With A Pearl Earring” will come to the De Young Museum in San Francisco next January, the first stop on a three-venue American tour of paintings from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, the Hague.

The Dutch museum is sending 35 paintings on a two-year tour, announced Friday, first to the United States, then to two museums in Japan, while it undergoes renovations. “Girl With a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings From the Mauritshuis,” will run Jan. 26-June 2, 2013, at the De Young, then move to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Frick Collection in New York City (where the show will be scaled down to 10 works and presented as “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis”).


“Girl With a Pearl Earring,” painted around 1665, was last seen in the United States in 1995 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in a 21-picture exhibition focused solely on Vermeer.

Reviewing that “once-in-a-lifetime….or even once-in-many-lifetimes” event, Times art critic Christopher Knight wrote that “sometimes, as in the exquisite ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ the sitter in the painting returns your focused gaze. An inexplicable charge rushes through the experience, as when an electrical circuit is suddenly completed.”

That was well before December 2003, when the painting – and the 18-year-old actress who played its subject – became household names even to people not previously familiar with 17th century Dutch art, thanks to Peter Webber’s film, which starred Colin Firth as Vermeer.

The show at the De Young also will include paintings by Rembrandt’s “‘Tronie’ of a Man with a Feathered Beret,” Carel Fabritius’ “The Goldfinch” and works by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Jacob and Salomon van Ruysdael, Paulus Potter, Meindert Hobbema and Jan van Goyen. RELATED:

Review: A pearl of beauty

Art review: Rare Vermeer works give grandeur to common man


Art review: `Woman With a Lute’ by Johannes Vermeer at Norton Simon Museum

-- Mike Boehm