I have been waiting for over a year for this painting to come to the Fricke Museum. I finally made it in there with a friend who likes art but does not paint. She is more into Impressionism particularly Van Gogh, Monet and Gogan but I digress. First visit to this museum for me and I have to say it is exquisite. The building is great and the permanent collection is awesome for its size.
I finally got to see this painting after seeing many images of it. It is a great painting. The colors kind of surprised me though. The lips are not as red as the photos I've seen. The complexion is paler than I expected on the highlighted side of the face. The eyes follow you which is a little spooky and the expression is priceless. It's as if she is about to say something. After I got home I looked at the postcard I bought there and looked at the cover of my Vermeer book and realized how different they were. The painting was restored in 1994 when it was discovered the red color on the lips was over painted on the original color and removed. The many cracks in the image were gone. I don't know for sure, but it may have been in the varnish. After seeing a few of Vermeers works I have to doubt that he would have painted the skin tone so pale but I am no expert.
It was well worth the trip though. If you decide to go, on Sundays between 11:00 am (when they open) and 1:00 pm it is pay what you wish. Otherwise it is $25.00. The permanent collection is awesome and includes King Philip by Vasquez, 3 other Vermeers' and about 5 Rembrants' and a couple of Titians. Their is also a few by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Ingres and a Degas and a Reoir. There is also a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. All on display. The furniture and house is also a sight to see. I highly recommend it.
We were out of there in about 2 hours and walked up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Took my friend to the American wing to see the American impressionists, Sargent portraits then to the Dutch Masters and eventually the European paintings from 1800-1900's where the European impressionist paintings are. After showing my friend all those paintings that I like she said to me " I never realized I like Rembrandt". She liked Sargent too and was not familiar with his work at all. That made the day for me.
The painting will be there until January 19th 2014 when it will leave the U.S. and head back to The Hague.