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Trading Places: The Rijksmuseum Lends a Rare Painting to the Taft Museum of Art

October 14, 2023–June 16, 2024 | Gallery 14: Music Room

While the Taft Museum of Art’s portrait of Michiel de Wael travels to the National Gallery, London and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam for the first major comprehensive exhibition devoted to Frans Hals in 30 years, the Taft welcomes a rare work by another Dutch master, Jan Steen, on loan from the Rijksmuseum.

One of just eight portraits known to have been completed by Steen, Adolf and Catharina Croeser portrays a wealthy father and daughter on the front steps of their home in Delft. The Croesers’ relationship to the woman and young boy who appear to be asking for charity remains a mystery. This juxtaposition of economic classes— unusual for a 17th-century portrait—illustrates the timeless necessity of helping others, sparking conversation about wealth distribution in our own time.

Taft guests can see Steen’s Adolf and Catharina Croeser in the Taft’s Gallery 14: Music Room alongside other Dutch portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals from the Taft’s collection. Steen is known for his satirical scenes from daily life that include The Doctor’s Visit, on view in Gallery 6: Virtue & Vice. The Rijksmuseum painting, however, reveals Steen’s inventive contribution to portraiture.

The Rijksmuseum is lending the work in exchange for the Taft’s loan of Hals’s Michiel de Wael, which joins 50 of the artist’s finest paintings, including a recently discovered portrait of De Wael’s wife, Cunera van Baersdorp, and a group portrait that features De Wael at its center. This exhibition at two of the world’s great museums and a new catalog by leading Hals experts places the Taft’s masterpiece on the international stage and introduces a new generation to Hals’s  ively work. Frans Hals will be on view at The National Gallery, London, September 30, 2023–January 21, 2024, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, February 16–June 9, 2024.

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