Major Exhibition on Aelbert Cuyp and British Landscape Painting

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) the Dordrechts Museum is organising a large exhibition about the Dutch artist and his impact on English landscape painters

Aelbert Cuyp, The Maas at Dordrecht, c. 1650, National Gallery of Art, Washington (Andrew W. Mellon Collection)
Aelbert Cuyp, The Maas at Dordrecht, c. 1650, National Gallery of Art, Washington (Andrew W. Mellon Collection)

In the light of Cuyp. Aelbert Cuyp & Gainsborough – Constable – Turner will be held from 3 October 2021 to 6 March 2022. Cuyp, the master of hazy, golden evening light, is Dordrecht’s most famous painter. The exhibition will show around 30 of his most important paintings, temporarily bringing them back to the city where they were made. For the first time In the light of Cuyp will focus on the appreciation of Cuyp and his influence on British painters with over 30 works by famous artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner amongst others.

Nowadays Aelbert Cuyp ranks among the most important landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age. In his time, however, Cuyp was quintessentially a local artist, who was virtually unknown outside his hometown. He lived and worked his entire life in Dordrecht – the oldest city of Holland – and the buyers of his landscapes almost exclusively came from his birthplace. He was discovered in the 18th century, first and foremost by British collectors and artists. Cuyp was discovered rather late, but once his collectability was established the flight of his works from Dordrecht was immediate and total. By 1800, no significant paintings by Cuyp remained in his homeland. This craze for his works has been described as ‘Cuyp Mania’. Furthermore, the work of Aelbert Cuyp has had a lasting influence on landscape painters in England from the second half of the 18th- to the 19th Century. Many were inspired by the landscapes with cattle and the golden light of the ‘Dutch Claude’. J.M.W. Turner’s admiration for Cuyp even spurred him on to visit Dordrecht.

In the light of Cuyp will reveal the huge impact of Cuyp’s work on 18th- and 19th-Century British artists such as Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Richard Parkes Bonington, Augustus Wall Callcott and John Crome. The exhibition will include important paintings from prominent lenders, many of which have never been shown in the Netherlands. Two major works by Aelbert Cuyp are generously lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ii from the British Royal Collection. Three highly praised landscapes by Cuyp from Woburn Abbey will be exhibited for the first time in Holland. Other already sustained loans include paintings by Cuyp and his British followers from the National Gallery in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Britain, the National Trust, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Kenwood House, the Royal Academy, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Scottish National Gallery, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum in Budapest and the National Gallery of Ireland.

In the light of Cuyp. Aelbert Cuyp & Gainsborough – Constable – Turner
Dordrechts Museum, October 3, 2021 – March 6, 2022. Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

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