Hendrick Goltzius, “Seated Female Nude,” circa 1594, black chalk and brown ink, 15 5/16 x 11 3/8 inches

The Harvard Art Museums recently announced they will receive a spectacular gift of 330 master drawings. The gift was made public by George S. Abrams, the esteemed Boston-based collector, at a dinner held on November 3 in his honor. Details of the acquisition here!

Administrators of the Harvard Art Museums are jumping with joy this week as George S. Abrams announced his intentions to gift the institution a premier collection of 330 master drawings from the Dutch Golden Age, including works by Rembrandt and his pupils.

“The gift further establishes the museums as the major site for the appreciation, research, and study of works on paper from the Dutch Golden Age in North America,” the museums write. “This newest promised gift from the Abrams family brings tremendous depth and breadth to the museums’ holdings; the works represent over 125 artists and include extremely fine examples by major masters such as Rembrandt, Jacques de Gheyn II, Hendrick Goltzius, and Adriaen van Ostade, as well as a remarkable range of drawings by lesser-known masters who worked in a wide range of subjects and media. Impressive drawings by artists Nicolaes Berchem, Jacob Marrel, and Cornelis Visscher will help fill gaps in the museums’ collections. Taken as a whole, the Abrams Collection at the Harvard Art Museums reveals the critical role of drawing in the art world of the Dutch Golden Age.

Cornelis van Haarlem, “Two Female Nudes,” circa 1608, oil on paper, varnished and mounted, 14 5/16 x 9 3/4 inches

“‘George has generously supported the Harvard Art Museums over many decades and in countless ways; we are incredibly thankful for the role that he and Maida have played in galvanizing the study of drawings at Harvard and particularly for their commitment to telling the rich story of draftsmanship from the Low Countries,’ said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. ‘The latest gift from the Abrams family is truly transformative for our museums — indeed, for the entire Boston area, especially as the city strives to become a major destination for the study and presentation of Dutch, Flemish, and Netherlandish art. Together with the newly founded Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, we now can pursue institutional collaborations that will serve visitors and scholars from around the world.’

Jacques de Gheyn II, “A Roma Woman with a Child,” circa 1604, brown ink and black chalk

“Mr. Abrams and his late wife Maida made earlier gifts that brought more than 140 drawings to the Harvard Art Museums over the course of several decades. With their collective gifts, the museums now have the most comprehensive holding of 17th-century Dutch drawings outside Europe.

Roelant Savery, “Six Peasants Merrymaking,” circa 1608, black and red chalk on paper, 10 5/8 x 8 1/8 inches

“‘When the collection grows in quality and quantity in such a major way, suddenly there are stories you can tell with greater force and depth, with fewer gaps in the narrative,’ said Edouard Kopp, the Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings at the Harvard Art Museums. ‘Since its creation, the Fogg Museum has been a key U.S. institution for the study and appreciation of drawings, and this gift will enable us to be an even more vibrant center, particularly for Dutch drawings.’”

To learn more, visit The Harvard Art Museums.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Fine Art Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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