Executed late in Vermeer’s life, A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal is the last work by the artist to remain in private hands, aside from a picture owned by Queen Elizabeth II of England. It is also the most recent to be firmly attributed to the master. In addition to myriad investigations in the 1990s and after, recent analysis has found that it was painted on canvas cut from the same bolt of cloth that Vermeer used for The Lace Maker, which today hangs in the Louvre.
In addition to Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, the Leiden Collection, New York, is lending Portrait of Samuel Ampzing by Hals (c. 1582-1666), which depicts in bravura brushstrokes a Haarlem minister and writer. It is included in the new installation Painting and Reading in the Dutch Golden Age (gallery 273), where it joins works drawn from the John G. Johnson Collection and the Museum’s collection of Dutch art, the largest in the United States.
The Coat of Many Colors, a biblical scene attributed to van den Eeckhout (1621-1674), a pupil of Rembrandt in Amsterdam, will be placed in gallery 258 on October 29, in proximity to a work by the same artist in the Museum’s collection.
Young Woman Seated at a Virginal will be on view at the Museum through March 2014, while the Hals portrait and The Coat of Many Colors will be on view until October 2014.
Vermeer’s pictures have seldom have been exhibited in Philadelphia. The last time a Vermeer was on display in Philadelphia was in 2004, when Young Woman Seated at a Virginal was on view at the Museum.