Exhibition | Women on Paper

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 13, 2022

From the press release for the exhibition:

Women on Paper
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 3 December 2022 — 5 June 2023

The Rijksmuseum presents Women on Paper, an exhibition about women who have made their mark on art history. Work by a selection of women artists from the Rijksmuseum collection has been brought together in five rooms in different parts of the museum. Included are drawings, prints, and photographs by Gesina ter Borch, Berthe Morisot, Käthe Kollwitz, and Julia Margaret Cameron, as well as recent acquisitions by Cornelia de Rijck and Thérèse Schwartze. Women on Paper is the result of a long-term study to take stock of work by women artists in the Rijksmuseum collection and create a more balanced representation in the collection and exhibition.

Cornelia de Rijck, Butterflies: A Small Tortoiseshell, a Dryas Lulia, a Heliconius Sara, a Large Tortoiseshell, a Heliconius Melpomene, a Comma, and Others, ca. 1700, watercolor and bodycolor, watermark posthorn within a shield surmounted by a crown, 28 × 20 cm (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, purchased with the support of I.Q van Regteren Altena Fonds/Rijksmuseum Fonds). The work sold at Christie’s in New York on 28 January 2021 (online sale #19290, lot 71) for $30,000, ten times its high estimate.

Women were commonly educated within the family, and as with other professions, the production and publishing of prints was often a family business. Printmakers Diana Mantuana and Barbara van den Broeck developed into independent and enterprising engravers, and the 15th- and 16th-century print cabinet is dedicated to their work. The display in the 17th-century cabinets centres on the work of Magdalena de Passe and Gesina ter Borch. De Passe, like her three brothers, was trained as an engraver, and her work was highly regarded. Ter Borch came from an artistic family and devoted her life to art. On display are watercolours characterised by originality, humour, and beauty, alongside highly personal poems, writing, and drawings by Ter Borch and her family. The display in the 18th-century print cabinet focuses on flora and fauna, with watercolours by artists including Dorothea Maria Graff and Alida Withoos, whose precise and colourful work was an important contribution to the developing natural sciences. Their travels took them to a wide range of destinations, as far afield as Suriname.

The final print room focuses on the 19th century, with work by artists including Thérèse Schwartze, Lizzy Ansingh, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Eva Watson-Schütze. In the early 19th century, an exhibition circuit arose for drawings and pastels, through which many women artists achieved recognition and commercial success. The advent of photography brought another art form that was embraced by women for its many artistic possibilities.

Women on Paper and the research project have been made possible in part by the Women of the Rijksmuseum Fund. The exhibition in the print cabinets is on display from 3 December 2022 to 5 June 2023.

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