New in Genre

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Before Dub Step, there was Surrealism. Old School Hip Hop, appearing way after the French New Wave (and the Southern Gothic novel), was preceded by German Expressionism. And then there was the crime novel and slapstick comedy. Don’t worry, this is not to forge a trajectory; only to exhibit the all-encompassing umbrella of genre. From the general to the painstakingly specific, we have genre. Now, if you were say the above list is actually composed of subgenres, you would be right. But considering the term originally only discerned poetry, prose and drama – where do we draw the line?

The discussion gets real slippery when it broaches art history. For example, in the “hierarchy of genres”; along with history painting, portraiture, still life, and landscape, genre painting itself is listed. The genre of genre painting (see?) was coined as a catch-all for painting that could not be considered any other kind. It’s now fair to say that history has sealed-off what we think of when we think of genre painting. In a sense, it has become a thing-in-itself, like the legacies of “modern art” or “classic rock”.

So, what do we think of when we think of genre painting? Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre painting, front and center. Therefore, what do we think of when we read the title to this blog post, “New in Genre”? Why, new acquisitions in Seventeenth-Century Dutch genre painting at the Brooks of course!

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Thomas Morgan Roberts in memory of his parents Emily Allen Roberts and James Thomas Roberts, the Brooks recently received a collection of sixteen Dutch, Flemish, and German Old Master paintings. Three of which are now on view in the Schering Plough Gallery.From my “research” (read, Googlin’), nobody has put images of these treasures online. I surely won’t be the one to do it. What holds true with most art, that a real understanding can only occur in person, here might as well be the rule. The crisp light and elegant line of a Hendrick Cornelisz. van der Vliet church interior, the minutia of secrets that characters in Frans Francken the Younger’s The Interior of a Barbershop possess, and the infinite layers of monochromatic darkness that Job Adriaensz. Berckheyde painted on oak panel three hundred and fifty years ago in A Tavern Interior with Men Playing Cards …..jpegs just don’t do these kinds of things justice.


NOW ON VIEW:

Job Adriaensz. Berckheyde, Dutch, 1630-1693
A Tavern Interior with Men Playing Cards, signed and dated 1663
Oil on oak Panel
Gift of Thomas Morgan Roberts
In memory of his parents Emily Allen Roberts and James Thomas Roberts

Frans Francken the Younger, Flemish, 1581-1642
The Interior of a Barbershop, ca. 1630
Oil on copper
Gift of Thomas Morgan Roberts
In memory of his parents Emily Allen Roberts and James Thomas Roberts

Hendrick Cornelisz. van der Vliet, Dutch, ca. 1611-1675
Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, ca. 1640
Oil on Oak Panel
Gift of Thomas Morgan Roberts
In memory of his parents Emily Allen Roberts and James Thomas Roberts

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