LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fans of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer will have a rare opportunity to see one of his paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for six weeks beginning Saturday.
"Woman in Blue Reading a Letter," painted in 1663-1664, is on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has allowed the work to travel while the Rijksmuseum is closed for renovations.
Vermeer lived in Delft and is known for his serene portraits of domestic life. Only about three dozen of his works are known to exist and they often generate a great deal of public interest when they are displayed. There are no other Vermeers on exhibit in Los Angeles, though his famed "Girl with the Pearl Earring" is on view through June 2 at the de Young in San Francisco.
"Woman in Blue Reading a Letter" shows a woman standing in profile wearing a long blue jacket over a long skirt, intently reading a letter that historians say the artist probably intended to be perceived as a love letter. Her figure is framed by two blue chairs with a large map on the wall behind her. Modern viewers may interpret the woman's bell-shaped silhouette as a depiction of pregnancy, though experts note that her outfit is bulky and images of maternity from that era were rare.
The oil painting was shown in Shanghai and Sao Paolo before going on exhibit in Los Angeles. The Getty show will be its only North American viewing, ending March 31 so the painting can return to Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum's reopening on April 13.