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Tonight: Executive Director of the Bruce Museum, Dr. Peter Sutton on Northern Baroque Splendor

by Becky Linhardt


learning & interpretation , education , events & programs , lectures , Northern Baroque Splendor , European Painting & Sculpture

One of the largest and most diverse exhibitions of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Northern Baroque Splendor: The HOHENBUCHAU COLLECTION from LICHTENSTEIN: The Princely Collections, Vienna from June 27 through Sept. 20, 2015. The Cincinnati Art Museum interviewed Dr. Peter Sutton, Executive Director of the Bruce Museum in Connecticut and curator of the exhibition, about this unique collection.

“The Hohenbuchau Collection is characterized by remarkable naturalism and visual probity. It also presents a wide variety of styles and subject matter in all genres and features many collaborative works,” he said. “At the Bruce Museum, our audience admired the richness of the works. Baroque art celebrates abundance, opulence, and luxury, yet the 17th century was an era of conflict, pestilence, and economic hardship,” said Sutton. “The paintings may in part have been a form of compensation. Visitors also admired the detailed naturalism of the works; theorists of the period enjoined artists to create a ‘mirror of nature’.”

Sutton’s lecture at the Cincinnati Art Museum on June 25 will address the historic and social context of Baroque art, and spoke to the paradox of appearance and reality in the paintings.

“Outwardly the paintings appear like snapshots of reality but they weren’t recorded on the spot, but only created back in the studio from pictorial tradition and the imperfections of memory. As an example, there are two paintings of waterfalls: [Allart van] Everdingen saw actual waterfalls in Scandinavia while [Jacob van] Ruisdael never did, yet is famous for his raging torrents. He based his works on Everdingen’s paintings, creating art that not only is plausible but also highly naturalistic.”

The lecture will also address the artists’ lives and practices, including studio collaboration, which resulted in works executed by more than one artist and reached its zenith in Rubens’s studio. This private collection was assembled by Otto Christian and Renate Fassbender and consists of about 140 works acquired over the last four decades to decorate their hunting lodge, Hohenbuchau. The items are now on permanent loan to the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein in Vienna. Sixty-four paintings were selected for the United States tour; Cincinnati is the last venue before the collection returns to Europe.

Northern Baroque Splendor, The HOHENBUCHAU COLLECTION from: LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vienna is organized by Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Conn., and generously presented by Mercy Health, the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc., and the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation, trustee PNC Bank. The exhibition will be on display in the Western & Southern Galleries on the second floor (232 and 233). More information about the collection can be found at

Image Credit:
Abraham Bloemaert (Gorinchem 1566–1651 Utrecht),
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1592, oil on panel,
The Princely Collections, Vienna, HB 89