The exhibition The Dutch Golden Age organized by the Pinacothèque de Paris in the fall of 2009 around the treasures of the Dutch royal collections, highlighted the unique period in Europe, during which an important human revolution took place a century and a half before the one in France.
The Dutch Golden Age refers to a rise of a merchant class to political power. The Netherlands are based during the 17th century on an incredible economic wealth. The country is one of the few places in Europe where war was not waged, without any Inquisition or religious intolerance. It became a refuge for artists, thinkers, writers and philosophers who could find such freedom of expression nowhere else.
An extraordinary artistic movement developed then, supported by a new category of collectors : the merchants and the bourgeois. During that period in Holland, collecting was no longer the prerogative of aristocrats, as elsewhere in Europe,
The outstanding collection assembled by Ilone and George Kremer for over sixteen years is symbolic in that sense : as if the couple descended directly from that new class of merchants-collectors. Just like their forerunners, Ilone and George Kremer made a fortune in international trade. They are passionate collectors, erudites, probably knowing their works and the Dutch artists better than many specialists and art historians.
The couple created a unique collection of Dutch masters, from Rembrandt to Frans Hals, through Pieter de Hooch, Gerrit Dou, Gerrit van Honthorst. They also attached great importance to artists lesser known today, but equally essential at the time.
The Pinacothèque de Paris shows an outstanding set of fifty seven exceptional works which favour the technic of the chiaroscuro, developped and widely spread during the Dutch Golden Age. The exhibition focuses on genre scenes and social relations between the various trades in 17th century Holland, and also shows, how the bourgeoisie overtook the aristocracy in the world of art lovers and collectors. The exhibition also shows still-life paintings and landscapes which are among the most remarkable and the most representative paintings of this time.
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