Exhibition | Brueghel to Canaletto: The Grasset Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 5, 2016


Press release (1 January 2016) from The San Diego Museum of Art:

Brueghel to Canaletto: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection
The San Diego Museum of Art, 2 April — 2 August 2016

The San Diego Museum of Art announced the arrival of Brueghel to Canaletto: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, an exhibition featuring some of the finest still life and landscape paintings from leading Dutch, Flemish, Italian, Spanish and German artists of the 17th and 18th centuries. Made possible by a loan from a European family, of French origin with close connection to Spain, the exhibition features 40 works never before displayed publicly. The collection is on view at the Museum, the sole venue for the exhibition, from April 2 through August 2, 2016.

Spanning the years 1600 to 1750, the featured works represent a turning point in history when artwork began to be collected by those other than nobility—and the art market emerged. Grouped thematically, the exhibition begins with still lifes including floral arrangements featuring exquisite flowers imported from around the world and sumptuous banquet scenes featuring exotic fruits, cheeses, fine wine, imported silver and Chinese porcelain highly coveted in the Netherlands, reflecting the high-society influences of the time. The exhibition also includes landscapes depicting the day-to-day lives of common folk, as well as maritime scenes that became increasingly popular throughout northern Europe at the time.

Brueghel to Canaletto: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection brings together a rare grouping of artists from the ‘Golden Age’, including Barent Avercamp, famous for his paintings of everyday life in the Netherlands; Juan van der Hamen y León, the most important Spanish still life painter of the 17th century, whose style helped shape the development of still life through the 19th century; and Canaletto, an artist renowned for his views of the canals of Venice.

Notable works featured in the exhibition also include Floris Claesz van Dyck’s Still Life of Fruit and Olives; Osias Beert’s Still Life of Flowers in a Stone Vase; Jan Brueghel’s A Wooded River Landscape, with a Fish Market and Fishing Boats; and Esias van de Velde’s Winter Landscape with Elegant Skaters and a Woman Frying Pancakes on a Frozen Waterway.

“These paintings represent more than flowers and still lifes–they convey the ephemeral nature of life,” said Roxana Velásquez, Maruja Baldwin Executive Director of The San Diego Museum of Art. “The works in Brueghel to Canaletto: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection reflect a pivotal time in history as art became a more accessible commodity, and the masters of this period became more technically advanced as a result. We are thrilled to debut this exhibition in its entirety for the very first time and to share it with the San Diego community and its visitors.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a discussion with Michael Brown, Associate Curator of European Art, who will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the reorganization and renovation of the second-floor galleries featuring Brueghel to Canaletto. Organized thematically, the other galleries will feature works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection associated with The Art of Devotion and The Art of the Portrait. After the conclusion of the exhibition, highlights of Brueghel to Canaletto: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection will be on display at The San Diego Museum of Art for three years, providing a rich addition of 17th-century works to the Museum’s collection.