An Exhibition of Flemish and Dutch Painting

May 13, 1955 - June 13, 1955

From the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Bernot

Within a period of a little more than a century there grew up, flowered, and died in Holland one of the most important artistic movements in European history.  It was based on the awakening, for the first time in Europe, to the pictorial possibilities inherent in man’s everyday environment.  Since their day we have become so accustomed to landscape, genre, and still-life painting that it is easy to forget that it was the Dutch artists of the seventeenth century who first gave these subjects their firm position in the repertory of the painter.  Most of our paintings are landscapes, the field which brought out the best of Dutch creative talent. The earliest landscape, a mountain scene by an unknown artist of the sixteenth century, reveals the interest in the universal qualities of space, light, and atmosphere that form the core of this landscape tradition. These qualities reach their fullest development in the landscapes of Rembrandt and Jacob van Ruisdael, here seen at his best in Wheatfield. One of the keys to the success of Dutch landscapes is that, while having the immediate appeal of familiar places and people, they never sacrifice the universal qualities of nature which embrace the particulars. When, at the end of the century, Dutch painters did lose sight of the universals, the tradition died. This exhibition shows works in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Bernat, who have made their collection on the basis of educated preference, not by buying “name artists.”