Never before have so many paintings by Aelbert Cuyp been on display together!
The exhibition 'In the light of Cuyp ' is unique in several ways. For the first time, so many paintings by Aelbert Cuyp, Dordrecht's most famous painter, are being shown in one exhibition. Some are even on display for the first time in the Netherlands. The works have been loaned by museums all over the world. The combination with paintings by English artists Turner, Gainsborough and Constable, for whom Cuyp was an important source of inspiration, makes the exhibition surprising.
Curator of old art and curator of the exhibition Sander Paarlberg has been working on it for years and now it has finally arrived. The exhibition 'In the light of Cuyp' has been extended and can be admired until 8 May 2022 in the Dordrechts Museum. The works come from Germany, the United States, Ireland, Hungary, but especially from England.
Curator Sander Paarlberg explains: "It is a special story. In his time, in the 17th century, Cuyp was a completely local painter. Apart from some small excursions, he never left Dordrecht. His customers were mainly Dordrecht citizens. During his lifetime, nobody outside Dordrecht realised how good Cuyp really was. How special the golden light, the serene atmosphere and the stillness in his works were. Whether they are landscapes with shepherds, animals or travellers: they have it all. They are all masterpieces, but they were hidden away in Dordrecht for a long time. Until, long after his death, a painting by Cuyp surfaced in England. Soon after that, a British Cuypmania broke out and in no time, the paintings were bought from Dordrecht and shipped to England. The sale was fast and rigorous."
"The appreciation of Cuyp was enormous in England. His landscapes were a perfect match for the tastes of the British landed gentry, but even painters could not ignore Cuyp. Many later world-famous artists, including Turner, Gainsborough and Constable, drew their inspiration from the Dordrecht artist. The characteristic golden light, the motifs and the colours recurred in the works of these 18th- and 19th-century masters. These are, of course, three well-known masters, but Cuyp was an important source of inspiration for many more artists, even well into the 19th century. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition provides detailed information on this."
Now many works are temporarily returning for the exhibition. Moreover, it is four hundred and one years ago that Cuyp was born in Dordrecht. That, too, makes the story special. After all this time, the paintings are returning to the place where they were made. Among these works are three landscapes from Woburn Abbey and two masterpieces from the collection of none other than the British Queen Elizabeth. The works 'The Ferry' and 'Landscape with Shepherd and Travellers by Evening Light' normally hang at Buckingham Palace in London. The director of the Royal Collections, Tim Knox, officially opened the exhibition.
"This exhibition is a great opportunity to see so many Cuyp masterpieces together. The quality is so high, every Dordrecht resident can be proud of this most famous son of the city. Moreover, 'In het licht van Cuyp' shows how great the influence of the Dordrecht painter has been on later international artists. We expect a lot of visitors from outside the city, but for all the residents of Dordrecht it is a great opportunity to get to know their famous fellow-cityman. The curator's own favourite is from the United States, which is 'The Meuse at Dordrecht' from Washington, a large sunny river view with the city in the background. "But of course the works are all worth visiting."
You can also take a unique city walk led by a VVV guide. This walk will provide more in-depth information about the exhibition and will take you along places in Dordrecht that were important to Cuyp during his lifetime. The walk costs €6 per person and advance registration is required: email@example.com or 078-7513000. The walk starts every Saturday until 30 April at 11:30 am at VVV Dordrecht, Spuiboulevard 99.