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From the Hague – 15 treats

The Frick gives New Yorkers a rare chance to peek into the Golden Age

Olivia Weinberg | September/October 2013

The Frick loves to home in on a distant museum and bring its treasures over to be enjoyed by busy New Yorkers. Its next target is the Mauritshuis in The Hague, which has some of the best pictures from the Dutch golden age. Don’t expect a blockbuster: with only 15 works on display, this is a peek into history.

The Dutch and Flemish masters painted with great technical refinement and rare sophistication. "Simeon's Song of Praise", 1631, by Rembrandt, is a supreme case in point, with a compositional clarity and sense of balance and order that is typical of the time. Simeon, Jesus, Mary and Joseph are bathed in a pool of light, luminous against the still, shadowy background. There is an unearthly silence.

Dutch art tends to be quiet, atmospheric, accurate, never showy. "Woman Writing a Letter" (detail above), c.1655, by Gerard ter Borch reveals another private moment. A young woman with well-kept hair and milky skin sits at her desk, fully immersed. The light is carefully controlled and the pinkish tones are softter Borch was a master colourist. The painting is small, but it draws you in. It would be wrong not to mention the world-famous "Girl with a Pearl Earring", c.1665, by Vermeer, the only work to be given its own space here. But special treatment can be a slippery slope and there are plenty of contenders capable of pinching the girl's limelight. ~ Olivia Weinberg

Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces from the Mauritshuis Frick Collection, New York, Oct 22nd to Jan 19th

AT A GLANCE

Imagine Brazil (Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, to March 2nd). A swanky new space for 30 Brazilian artists, from the young and plucky to the established. Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine is co-curator.

Van Gogh in Paris (Eykyn Maclean, London, to Nov 29th). It was in Paris, where he lived for two years from 1886, that van Gogh discovered the vibrant tones we associate with him. Here are eight paintings that show the shift.

The Russian Avant-Garde, Siberia and the East (Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, to Jan 19th). A hefty show that aims to unpick the relationship between East and West, tracing the impact on Russian art of Neolithic stone figures, Siberian shaman rituals, Chinese prints and Japanese engravings.

Hans Richter, the crossing of the century (Pompidou, Metz, to Feb 24th). Richter was at the heart of the avant-garde in 1910. His work is full of quirky creativity.

Jonathan Yeo Portraits (National Portrait Gallery, London, to Jan 5th). Yeo has painted Stephen Fry, Grayson Perry (aka Claire) and Kevin Spacey. Some of the results are wonderful; others should be at Madame Tussauds.

Nice. Luc Tuymans (Menil Collection, Texas, to Jan 5th). Around 30 works by the Belgian painter who has become one of the leading artists of the day, creating emotion-laden paintings from photographs and film stills.

Thinking with the Body (Wellcome Collection, London, to Oct 27th). Wayne McGregor’s lucid, alien-like movements have redefined modern dance. For ten years, he has worked with cognitive neuroscientists to create new ways of moving, rehearsing and choreographing. This is what they found. ~ OW

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