Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 69 (2019)

Connoisseurship and the Knowledge of Art


Connoisseurship – once foundational, then controversial, and currently critically reconsidered – is fundamentally about knowledge. Focusing on the distinctive history of the connoisseurship of Netherlandish art, this volume investigates early modern connoisseurship as revealed through pictorial practice, texts, and pictures featuring art lovers. An interplay between possessing and knowing about art emerges in the collecting of Chinese porcelain in the eighteenth century. With the professionalization of art criticism in the nineteenth century, Rembrandt’s art becomes a locus of scrutiny. In the twentieth century, the introduction of scientific data complicates the art historian’s expertise, whereas the case of Mondrian shows how modernist criticism and connoisseurship are intricately interwoven. Finally, persisting tensions between connoisseurship, authorship, and the market are brought to the fore.

Table of Contents
1. H. Perry Chapman, Thijs Weststeijn, Connoisseurship as knowledge. An introduction
2. E. Melanie Gifford, Pieter Bruegel’s afterlife. A visual metaphor in seventeenth-century landscape
3. Jan Blanc, Mettre des mots sur l’art. Peintres et connaisseurs dans la théorie de l’art française et néerlandaise du XVIIe siècle
4. Alexander Marr, Ingenuity and discernment in The cabinet of Cornelis van der Geest (1628)
5. Tiarna Doherty, Painting connoisseurship. Liefhebbers in the studio
6. Angela Ho, Exotic and exclusive. The Pronk porcelain as products for the connoisseur
7. Antoinette Friedenthal, John Smith’s Rembrandt research project. An art dealer establishes the first catalogue raisonné of the paintings (1836)
8. Catherine B. Scallen, Rembrandt print connoisseurship, Sir Francis Seymour Haden, and the etching revival of the nineteenth century
9. Suzanne Laemers, In de voetsporen van Max Friedländer. Een pleidooi voor het kennerschap aan de hand van het Werlaltaarstuk
10. Marek Wieczorek, Greenberg’s connoisseurship in Mondrian’s space
11. Anne-Sophie V.E. Radermecker, The market reception of ‘new connoisseurship’. The impact of recent advances in art scholarship on the selling and buying of early Flemish paintings

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H. Perry Chapman (Ph.D. Princeton University) is Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware and a specialist in the art and visual culture of the Dutch seventeenth century. She is former editor-in-chief of The Art Bulletin.
Thijs Weststeijn is Professor of Art History before 1800 at Utrecht University, where he focuses on the art of the Dutch Golden Age and its global context. He chairs the research projects Histories of Global Netherlandish Art, 1550-1750 and The Chinese Impact: Images and Ideas of China in the Dutch Golden Age.
Dulcia Meijers is Executive Director of Emerson College’s European Center in the Netherlands, where she teaches Art History of the early modern times. Her focus is on Italy and the Mediterranean world, with particular emphasis on the cultural and architectural history of the city-state of Venice and it’s artistic relations with the North.
"Opening up new areas of research in this manner, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in current insights in connoisseurship as well as in its rich history—that is, the pursuit of visual knowledge since the Renaissance. Moreover, its thorough introduction and clear structure make it very suitable for teaching. Now that academic art history once again recognizes connoisseurship as an essential and ever-evolving art-historical method, books such as this one are urgently needed to successfully incorporate this type of visual thinking into the academic curriculum."
Anna Tummers in History of Humanities

"Now, however, after an intervening period of controversy, even of dismissal, the knowledge aspect of connoisseurship is revisited in this stimulating and topical NKJ volume."
Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania
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