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Dutch Drawings on the Horizon: A Day of Talks in Honor of George S. Abrams

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, A Farm on the Amsteldijk(?), c. 1650–52. Brown ink, brown wash and white opaque watercolor on cream antique laid paper. The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gift of George Abrams in memory of Maida Abrams, 2004.181.


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

This event was recorded. Please view part one, part two, and part three.

This symposium brings together international experts on 17th-century Dutch drawings in honor of George S. Abrams (Harvard College ’54, Harvard Law ’57). Mr. Abrams and his late wife, Maida, pioneered the collecting of Dutch drawings in the United States and have been a unifying force for study and scholarship in the field. Their generous gift of 110 works in 1999 transformed the Harvard Art Museums’ Dutch drawings collection into one of the most comprehensive in any U.S. museum. Speakers will use the vast breadth and depth of the Abrams Collection as a touchstone for discussing the exceptional draftsmanship of the Dutch Golden Age, from Goltzius to Rembrandt.

The symposium coincides with the installation The Art of Drawing in the Early Dutch Golden Age, 1590–1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection, on view at the Harvard Art Museums from September 9, 2017 to January 14, 2018.


9:30am Doors open. Seating for the day is first come, first served.

10am Director’s Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Martha Tedeschi, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director
Edouard Kopp, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings

Morning Session I

Chair: Arthur Wheelock
Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

“Drawing from Life and from Imagination”
Peter Schatborn
Head of the Rijksprentenkabinet, emeritus, Rijksmuseum

“Esteemed and Appreciated: The Figure Studies of Cornelis Dusart”
Susan Anderson
Curatorial Research Associate for Dutch and Flemish Drawings, Harvard Art Museums; and Curator, Maida and George Abrams Collection

“Bakers’ Dozen: Natural Delights by Johannes Bronkhorst and the Henstenburghs”
Jane Turner
Head of the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum; and Editor, Master Drawings

Morning Session II

Chair: Benjamin Weiss
Director of Collections and Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Visual Culture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Cornelis Visscher’s Bohémienne: From Print to Drawings”
Stijn Alsteens
International Head, Department of Old Master Drawings, Christie’s

“With Astonishing Speed and Great Elegance”: Wallerant Vaillant’s Portraits at the Diet of Frankfurt, 1658”
William W. Robinson
Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings, emeritus, Harvard Art Museums

12:30pm Lunch Break

2pm Afternoon Session

Chair: Peter C. Sutton
The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director, Bruce Museum

“10 Drawings Attributed to Rembrandt: Critiquing the Abrams Collection”
Martin Royalton-Kisch (in absentia)
Former Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, The British Museum

“Pen-and-Ink Figure Drawings by Jan Lievens: Issues of Style, Attribution, and Dating”
Gregory Rubinstein
Senior Director and Head of Old Master & Early British Drawings, Sotheby’s Worldwide

“Collecting Netherlandish Drawings—Frits Lugt and Maida and George Abrams”
Ger Luijten
Director, Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection

Roundtable Discussion with George Abrams and Speakers
Moderator: Peter Sutton

The symposium will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway. Doors will open at 9:30am.

Free and open to the public. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for this program is provided by the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Support Fund and the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, the latter of which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.