A new show opens this week, featuring works by highly successful female artists in the 17th- and early 18th-century Netherlands

A Still Life of Lilies, Roses, Iris, Pansies, Columbine, Love-in-a-Mist, Larkspur & other Flowers in a Glass Vase on a Table Top, Flanked by a Rose & a Carnation, ca. 1610, by Clara Peeters. National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The focus exhibition Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age opens in Washington, DC at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) this Friday, October 11. Drawn primarily from NMWA’s permanent collection, the show presents approximately twenty paintings and prints dating from 1610 through 1719 by nine successful artists in the Netherlands during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

The exhibition features these artists: 

  • Judith Leyster, whose recently rediscovered 1640s self-portrait will be on public display for the first time in the US;
  • Maria Sibylla Merian, a naturalist and scientific illustrator who revolutionized botany and zoology;
  • Magdalena van de Passe, an engraver who specialized in landscapes and portraits;
  • Clara Peeters, the pioneering Flemish still-life artist who inspired NMWA founder Wilhemina Cole Holladay to begin collecting women artists;
  • Rachel Ruysch, whose remarkable artistic career spanned seven decades, and whose works fetched more in the artists’ lifetimes than those of Rembrandt;
  • Maria Schalcken, who was trained by her brother Godfried Schalcken, and to whom only two extant paintings are attributed;
  • Anna Maria van Schurman, painter, engraver, poet, and scholar, said to be the first female university student of Europe; and 
  • Alida Withoos, a botanical artist who specialized in paintings of flowers, birds, butterflies and insects.
Maria Sibylla Merian, Plate 47 (from “Dissertation in Insect Generations and Metamorphosis in Surinam”, second edition), 1719. National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age will be on view in the museum’s Teresa Lozano Long Gallery from October 11, 2019 until January 5, 2020. On Wednesday, October 16, NMWA Associate Curator Virginia Treanor offers an express lunchtime Gallery Talk about works in the exhibition.

Art Herstory note cards featuring paintings by (top) Clara Peeters,
(bottom left) Maria Schalcken &
(bottom right) Judith Leyster

Interested in Dutch women artists?

Purchase fine stationery featuring paintings by these artists:

Art Herstory offers note cards featuring works by Judith Leyster, Clara Peeters and Maria Schalcken. View and/or purchase the cards here. If you are in DC for the show, pick up some Art Herstory cards at the National Gallery Shops, convenient to the Smithsonian Metro stop.

And, you might enjoy these Art Herstory blog posts:

Gesina ter Borch: Artist, not Amateur (Guest post by Dr. Nicole E. Cook)

Judith Leyster, Leading Star

The Protofeminist Insects of Giovanna Garzoni and Maria Sibylla Merian (Guest post by Prof. Emma Steinkraus)

Rachel Ruysch (16641750): A Birthday Post