Living with Vermeer

Curator of Dutch and Flemish painting Walter Liedtke ruminates on the Dutch way of life.

Loading

If the horse is sick, you do something. If the horse is hungry, you do something. There is this matter-of-factness to daily life.

Play again
Connections Home

URL
Share
Sign Up

New Connections appear every Wednesday. Sign up for a reminder.

Captions On
/
  • Walter Liedtke
    1280852
  • Home of Nancy and Walter Liedtke, Westchester County, New York
    640480
  • Home of Nancy and Walter Liedtke, Westchester County, New York
    640480
  • The Circumcision: From the series The Early Life of the Virgin  |  1593–94  |  Hendrick Goltzius (Netherlandish)  |  Engraving  |  Gift of Henry Walters, 1917 (17.37.36)
    7741024
  • Dish  |  early 17th century  |  Chinese for the European market  |  Hard paste  |  The Hans Syz Collection, Gift of Stephan B. Syz and John D. Syz, 1995 (1995.268.1)
    11001024
  • Vase with immortals bearing the character for longevity (shou)  |  Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573–1620)  |  China  |  Porcelain painted in underglaze blue  |  Rogers Fund, 1916 (16.61)
    5671024
  • Young Herdsmen with Cows  |  ca. 1655–60  |  Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.616)
    12151024
  • Barnyard Scene  |  ca. 1650–55  |  Anthonie van Borssom (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.12)
    1280950
  • Walter Liedtke, Courtauld Institute of Art graduate student, traveling in The Netherlands, 1971.  |  "My two loves—Walter Liedtke, 1972"
    1280911
  • A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate  |  1649?  |  Philips Koninck (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1911 (11.144)
    12551024
  • A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate  |  1649?  |  Philips Koninck (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1911 (11.144)
    1280739
  • Young Man and Woman in an Inn ("Yonker Ramp and His Sweetheart")  |  1623  |  Frans Hals (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.602)
    7611024
  • Self-Portrait  |  1660  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    8561024
  • View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer  |  1646  |  Jan van Goyen (Dutch)  |  Oil on wood  |  Purchase, 1871 (71.62)
    1280876
  • View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer  |  1646  |  Jan van Goyen (Dutch)  |  Oil on wood  |  Purchase, 1871 (71.62)
    1280832
  • Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, 1650  |  Emanuel de Witte (Dutch)  |  Oil on wood  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
    7251024
  • Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft  |  1650  |  Emanuel de Witte (Dutch)  |  Oil on wood  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
    8901024
  • Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft  |  1650  |  Emanuel de Witte (Dutch)  |  Oil on wood  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
    10901024
  • Young Woman with a Water Pitcher  |  ca. 1662  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.21)
    8971024
  • Young Woman with a Water Pitcher  |  ca. 1662  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.21)
    1280943
  • Young Woman with a Water Pitcher  |  ca. 1662  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.21)
    9521024
  • A Maid Asleep  |  ca. 1656–57  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.611)
    8851024
  • A Maid Asleep  |  ca. 1656–57  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.611)
    12291024
  • Woman with a Lute  |  ca. 1662–63  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.24)
    8941024
  • Study of a Young Woman  |  ca. 1665–67  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau, Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1)
    9161024
  • Study of a Young Woman  |  ca. 1665–67  |  Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau, Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1)
    12101024
  • Walter Liedtke
    1280852
  • I'm Walter Liedtke, and my field is Dutch and Flemish painting. I'm talking about "Living with Vermeer."

  • I think there is something Dutch about the way I live. To go home everyday from the Upper East Side of Manhattan to the countryside is a really nice contrast.

  • That part of Westchester County is stone walls and trees, and the house is a small, one-hundred-year old country house. The decoration's rather Dutch.

  • I have six Dutch seventeenth-century paintings and a number of engravings, and also a very Dutch thing is that I collect

  • Chinese porcelain of the 1600s. One of the things I like about collecting

  • porcelain, I don't think historically about it. I don't know what's going on in China at that time and that's kind of liberating.

  • At the essential level I think what's the most Dutch about it is this constant return to immediate experience. I get up, I go to the barn, I clean the horse stalls at 6:30 in the morning.

  • If the horse is sick, you do something. If the horse is hungry, you do something. There is this matter-of-factness to daily life. Something depends on you, in an essential way.

  • I lived in Amsterdam for a year and I had a motorcycle I'd drive all around the countryside

  • and the horizon is at your knee level, 360 degrees, and the sky is like this enormous vault with clouds.

  • Just a sense of light and endless space. You don't really understand that in Dutch painting until you've felt it on the ground. I'll meet people

  • from the Netherlands and somehow we're connected. And they'll say, "You know, there's one Dutch picture we really like more than any other."

  • It's not Rembrandt, it's not Vermeer, you'd never know. It's

  • van Goyen's View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer, with its high sky and the saturated water

  • speaks more of the Netherlands to natives than any other painting. I think that the interest in Dutch paintings began

  • because I was very visual as a kid. That goes back to maybe watching too much television.

  • I'm very responsive to visual patterns rather than narrative structures.

  • I became fascinated with the play between perception and making a picture. And nothing really presses those questions more than

  • Vermeer. Vermeer is complicated and simple at the same time, the way he handles light, and looks at

  • objects. They're very realistic, but also very still. It is so closely watched, so hypnotically studied

  • they seem like a vision. And I love that dawn of the person, of personal

  • psychology. Here's my maid, and I should chew her out for neglecting her duties

  • but in fact, she's so sweet and the behavior is so human that I can't say a thing. The tranquility of his best-known paintings I think appeals to people in the modern world because we live such busy lives.

  • It's that image of harmony, quietude. It's like a personal vision.

  • You might have it anywhere, on the train, or at home. And he did that deliberately.

  • It's more vivid, more real internally in your mind

  • than it is even in your eyes.

  • 17.37.36
    The Circumcision: From the series The Early Life of the Virgin, 1593–94, Hendrick Goltzius (Netherlandish), Engraving Gift of Henry Walters, 1917 (17.37.36)
  • 1995.268.1
    Dish, early 17th century, Chinese for the European market, Hard paste The Hans Syz Collection, Gift of Stephan B. Syz and John D. Syz, 1995 (1995.268.1)
  • 16.61
    Vase with immortals bearing the character for longevity (shou), Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573–1620), China, Porcelain painted in underglaze blue Rogers Fund, 1916 (16.61)
  • 14.40.616
    Young Herdsmen with Cows, ca. 1655–60, Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.616)
  • 32.100.12
    Barnyard Scene, ca. 1650–55, Anthonie van Borssom (Dutch), Oil on canvas The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.12)
  • 11.144
    A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate, 1649?, Philips Koninck (Dutch), Oil on canvas John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1911 (11.144)
  • 14.40.602
    Young Man and Woman in an Inn ("Yonker Ramp and His Sweetheart"), 1623, Frans Hals (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.602)
  • 14.40.618
    Self-Portrait, 1660, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
  • 71.62
    View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer, 1646, Jan van Goyen (Dutch), Oil on wood Purchase, 1871 (71.62)
  • 2001.403
    Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, 1650, Emanuel de Witte (Dutch), Oil on wood Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
  • 89.15.21
    Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, ca. 1662, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.21)
  • 14.40.611
    A Maid Asleep, ca. 1656–57, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.611)
  • 25.110.24
    Woman with a Lute, ca. 1662–63, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.24)
  • 1979.396.1
    Study of a Young Woman, ca. 1665–67, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau, Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1)
  • The Circumcision: From the series The Early Life of the Virgin, 1593–94, Hendrick Goltzius (Netherlandish), Engraving Gift of Henry Walters, 1917 (17.37.36)
    Dish, early 17th century, Chinese for the European market, Hard paste The Hans Syz Collection, Gift of Stephan B. Syz and John D. Syz, 1995 (1995.268.1)
    Vase with immortals bearing the character for longevity (shou), Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573–1620), China, Porcelain painted in underglaze blue Rogers Fund, 1916 (16.61)
    Young Herdsmen with Cows, ca. 1655–60, Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.616)
    Barnyard Scene, ca. 1650–55, Anthonie van Borssom (Dutch), Oil on canvas The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.12)
    A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate, 1649?, Philips Koninck (Dutch), Oil on canvas John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1911 (11.144)
    Young Man and Woman in an Inn ("Yonker Ramp and His Sweetheart"), 1623, Frans Hals (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.602)
    Self-Portrait, 1660, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer, 1646, Jan van Goyen (Dutch), Oil on wood Purchase, 1871 (71.62)
    Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, 1650, Emanuel de Witte (Dutch), Oil on wood Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
    Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, ca. 1662, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.21)
    A Maid Asleep, ca. 1656–57, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.611)
    Woman with a Lute, ca. 1662–63, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.24)
    Study of a Young Woman, ca. 1665–67, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch), Oil on canvas Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau, Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    The Circumcision: From the series The Early Life of the Virgin
    1593–94
    Hendrick Goltzius (Netherlandish)
    Engraving
    Gift of Henry Walters, 1917 (17.37.36)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Dish
    early 17th century
    Chinese for the European market
    Hard paste
    The Hans Syz Collection, Gift of Stephan B. Syz and John D. Syz, 1995 (1995.268.1)
    Not on view
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor
    Vase with immortals bearing the character for longevity (shou)
    Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573–1620)
    China
    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue
    Rogers Fund, 1916 (16.61)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Young Herdsmen with Cows
    ca. 1655–60
    Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.616)
    On view: Gallery 634
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Barnyard Scene
    ca. 1650–55
    Anthonie van Borssom (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.12)
    Not on view
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    A Panoramic Landscape with a Country Estate
    1649?
    Philips Koninck (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1911 (11.144)
    On view: Gallery 638
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Young Man and Woman in an Inn ("Yonker Ramp and His Sweetheart")
    1623
    Frans Hals (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.602)
    On view: Gallery 634
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Self-Portrait
    1660
    Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    On view: Gallery 634
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmer Meer
    1646
    Jan van Goyen (Dutch)
    Oil on wood
    Purchase, 1871 (71.62)
    On view: Gallery 638
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, 1650
    Emanuel de Witte (Dutch)
    Oil on wood
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
    On view: Gallery 633
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Young Woman with a Water Pitcher
    ca. 1662
    Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.21)
    On view: Gallery 632
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    A Maid Asleep
    ca. 1656–57
    Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.611)
    On view: Gallery 632
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Woman with a Lute
    ca. 1662–63
    Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.24)
    On view: Gallery 632
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Study of a Young Woman
    ca. 1665–67
    Johannes Vermeer (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in memory of Theodore Rousseau, Jr., 1979 (1979.396.1)
    On view: Gallery 632
    European PaintingsSecond Floor

    © 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art