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Displaying items by tag: Dutch Masters

Look carefully at Ingres’s painting of the Comtesse d’Haussonville and you realize that her right arm does not make any sense, it is coming right out of her rib cage. “It was deliberate,” said Emilie Gordenker, who was blown away by the painting as a college student in Connecticut. “He wanted to create this incredibly sinuous line that works perfectly … she makes this beautiful S-shape.”

This week the Comtesse is the poster girl for an unprecedented exhibition at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, where Gordenker is director.

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The Birmingham Museum of Art opened a new exhibit Saturday that features works of well-known Dutch and Flemish masters. The exhibition, called "Small Treasures," includes paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and their contemporaries. These artists are often known for large canvases, but these paintings are small.

"We have two paintings by Rembrandt and two paintings by Vermeer," said Robert Schindler, the museum's curator of European art. "In terms of quality and the level of artistic skill that is on display here, [it] is just extraordinary. It does not get any better than this."

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The presumed mastermind of a brazen art theft from a French Riviera museum involving four paintings by Monet, Sisley and Breughel denied any role as he went on trial on Monday.

The Miami-based Bernard Ternus, who is in his sixties, was sentenced in the United States to five years in prison in 2008 over the theft at Nice's Jules Cheret museum a year earlier.

Transferred to France last year after serving his sentence, Ternus -- who is being held in custody -- told the court in Aix-en-Provence in southern France that he had been framed.

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A little white dog with black ears is curled up asleep next to a large clay jar and a bundle of kindling. His carefully rendered fur seems to glow against the muted colors of the background.

Gerrit Dou’s “Sleeping Dog” of 1650 is a tiny painting -- 6.5 by 8.5 inches -- yet it’s also one of the most memorable in a superb exhibition of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art now on view in San Francisco. Featuring the collection of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo, it’s the latest of four major shows to open in the city this summer.

The works, which show ordinary life closely observed and often bathed in extraordinary light, features all the key genres and almost all the big names.

There’s a fine Rembrandt portrait of an old woman in a black dress with white collar, a moving Hals portrait of a preacher, a colorful village scene by Brueghel, flower bouquets by Bosschaert and de Heem, a luminous Amsterdam cityscape by van der Heyden and an amusing ice-skating scene by Avercamp. All that’s missing is a Vermeer.

“Dutch and Flemish Masterworks From the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection” was organized by the Peabody Essex Museum and runs through Oct. 2 at the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park. Information: +1-415-750-3600;

‘The Steins Collect’

The curatorial triumph of the summer is “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Writer and Bay Area native Gertrude Stein and her brothers, Leo and Michael, had remarkable taste and timing. They moved to Paris in the early 1900s and soon began collecting the newest wave of modern art, Matisse and Picasso, as well as the more established Cezanne, Renoir, Bonnard and others.

Their apartments became de facto museums of modernism and salons for the artistic elite of Paris. Gertrude was Picasso’s champion. Leo, Michael and his wife, Sarah, favored Matisse. (And others: Michael and Sarah later commissioned Le Corbusier to design a modernist house for them.)

The sprawling show brings together much of the now scattered Stein collection. It features iconic works like Picasso’s monumental 1905-06 portrait of Gertrude, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and Matisse’s 1905 “Woman With a Hat,” now part of the San Francisco museum’s collection.

Along with about 40 Picassos, 60 Matisses and works by more than a dozen other artists, the exhibition offers scores of photographs of the Steins, Gertrude’s partner Alice B. Toklas, their apartments and their arty circle, encapsulating a remarkable period.

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