The Museum of Art and History in Geneva is lucky enough to have over 280 Flemish and Dutch paintings dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Most of these were donated or bequested by several generous collectors (such as Jacob Duval, Gustave Revilliod and Lucien Baszanger, for example) and the collection is now the largest ensemble of paintings representing Flemish and Dutch Schools in Switzerland. Its quality is remarkably consistent which makes it an outstanding example in the history of the collections. Between 2002 and 2009, the paintings underwent systematic restoration work and scientific study and the resulting catalogue confirmed their status in the museum’s treasures and the collection’s vital importance at the international level.
Our exhibition offers a selection of 82 paintings focussing on the 17th century: the Golden Age of Rubens and Rembrandt. Set out in six thematic sections, the show highlights the phenomenon of painters’ specializations in a particular genre, emphasizing the contrast between the wide-ranging market of the mainly Calvinist Seven United Provinces (today’s Kingdom of the Netherlands, often referred to as Holland by metonymy) and the more centralized market of the Spanish Netherlands (today’s Belgium, sometimes referred to as Flanders) which remained Catholic. The exhibition has two main aims: to reveal an essential but little known facet of the Geneva collections to a wider audience and to put the paintings back into the context of the history of taste.
A travers le prisme iconographique de l’eau, le mouvement symboliste, dans son ampleur paneuropéenne, est présenté dans ses poétiques variations, oscillant entre Idéal et Pessimisme noir. Issu de prestigieuses institutions telles que le musée d’Orsay ou le Musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris, ainsi que d’importantes collections privées, un riche corpus d’œuvres en dévoile les multiples et fascinantes facettes.