Vermeer’s “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter” returns to the National Gallery of Art after 20 years. The painting is on view until December 1.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has lent one of its great treasures—Johannes Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (c. 1663)—to the National Gallery of Art in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the landmark Johannes Vermeer exhibition, which opened at the NGA in November 1995 before traveling to the Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague, in March 1996.
This luminous masterpiece, recently restored at the Rijksmuseum, will be displayed from September 19, 2015, through December 1, 2016, in the Dutch and Flemish Cabinet Galleries. It will hang with Vermeer paintings from the Gallery’s own collection, including “Woman Holding a Balance” (c. 1664) and “Girl with a Red Hat” (c. 1665/1666)—the latter newly returned after being featured in Small Treasures, an exhibition shown in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Birmingham, Alabama—as well as “Girl with a Flute” (1665–1675), attributed to Vermeer.
“Like many of Vermeer’s paintings, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter has a calm and reflective mood, but it also leaves much for the viewer to decipher about the woman’s emotions and the letter’s contents,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. Little is known about Vermeer (1632–1675), whose paintings have been hailed as some of the supreme achievements of the Dutch golden age. In 1995 and 1996, Johannes Vermeer, the first exhibition ever devoted solely to the Delft master’s art, featured 21 of the existing 35 works known to have been painted by him. The paintings were drawn from museums and private collections in Europe and the United States.