Guiding this online catalogue of exceptional Dutch and Flemish paintings and drawings in The Leiden Collection has been a great privilege. Not only has it been an enormous learning process, but it has also deepened my appreciation for the depth and richness of this remarkable collection. Although many of these paintings and drawings are known to the general public because they have been lent to museums and exhibitions as part of The Leiden Collection’s generous and wide-ranging loan program, this catalogue provides the first opportunity to explore the full scope of the Collection. I owe Thomas Kaplan and his wife, Daphne Recanati Kaplan, a huge debt of gratitude for trusting me to lead this endeavor and for their commitment to the highest standards of scholarly excellence. Tom also wanted the catalogue texts to capture the visual and emotional power of these paintings and drawings, both to reflect the joy that they bring to him and Daphne and to help elicit a similar sense of enjoyment in others.
I would like to thank Bill Natbony, Executive Chairman/CEO of the Tigris Group, for his unwavering and passionate support. Bill has had fiduciary responsibility for The Leiden Collection, and he has taken those responsibilities quite seriously, playing an active role in overseeing the organization and successful completion of the catalogue. Similar thanks are due Dennis H. Javer and, subsequently, Lillian R. Saldanha, the Chief Operating Officers of Tigris, for their active and enthusiastic support.
The breadth of skill and talent required to bring this online catalogue of The Leiden Collection to fruition has been enormous, and I am greatly indebted to all those who made it possible, particularly the many authors of the essays, entries and biographies. Their names and affiliations are listed prominently in the author section. The extraordinary knowledge and many insights of this international group of experts are evident throughout the catalogue. Less evident, however, is their patience in seeing their contributions come to light, sometimes years after their texts were written. I am also grateful for the sensitive translations of German and Dutch texts by Jennifer Kilian, Katy Kist, and Diane Webb, and for the careful editing undertaken by Michelle Piranio, Lisa Shea, and Lara Hudson Press.
The authors, I know, share my great appreciation for the extensive documentation that my colleagues at The Leiden Collection assembled on each of the works. Sara C. Smith, the gracious and efficient Director of Collections at The Leiden Collection, was responsible for collection management. Research into exhibitions, literature, and art-historical interpretations of the paintings and drawings was undertaken by Dominique N. Surh, Curator of The Leiden Collection, and a group of talented researchers, including Ilona van Tuinen, Nicole E. Cook, Junko Aono, Lara Yeager-Crasselt, and Alexandra Libby. Most of their inquiries took place at the Frick Reference Library, the Watson Library in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the library at the National Gallery of Art. We are enormously indebted to these institutions for their assistance in these endeavors. We would also like to thank the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorisches Documentatie in The Hague and the Regionaal Archief Leiden for their support of research efforts related to this project.
Each catalogue author was provided with excellent photographs of the works in the Collection made by Rich Lee, and, as well, extensive technical reports from conservators, scientists, and researchers. Annette Rupprecht, working closely with Sara C. Smith and Laurel Dial, former Curator of The Leiden Collection, wrote most of these conservation reports. Other conservators, particularly those affiliated with museums to which works had been lent, also kindly wrote examination reports for this catalogue. Among these individuals were Michael Gallagher, Melanie Gifford, Simon Howell, Petria Noble, Devi Ormond, Marjorie Shelly, Kate Smith, and Jevon Thistlewood. More specialized scientific studies were made by a number of conservation scientists, including John Twilley, who, working closely with Dominique N. Surh, identified pigments and analyzed paint layers for a number of paintings; Ian Tyers, who undertook dendrochronological examinations of the wood panels; and Rick Johnson, who studied thread counts of canvases. These various reports served as the basis for the technical summaries that Annette Rupprecht and Joanna Dunn subsequently crafted for each of the entries in the catalogue.
The development of the catalogue’s website was the responsibility of the design firm Early Adopter. We are particularly grateful to Early Adopter’s founder, Jay Van Buren, and his colleagues, Valerie Eakes-Kann, Joe Unander, and Chris Gaughan, for their enthusiasm and expertise in pursuing this project. Their collaborative working process, which involved many meetings with those concerned with the catalogue’s content, led to a design that is both visually appealing and user friendly, thus enhancing the viewer’s educational experience. One of the interactive components of the catalogue is a feature developed by Dr. Robert G. Erdmann that provides the ability to overlay images of paintings with their X-radiographs and infrared photographs. The website also includes videos, which were organized by Dominique N. Surh and directed by Martin Huberman of VideoArt Production in Washington D.C. Some of these videos focus on the acquisition and significance of works in the Collection while others emphasize conservation treatments and technical examinations. The videos were made in various locations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. We greatly appreciate not only the willingness of these institutions to accommodate these filming sessions, but also the participation of the curators and art dealers interviewed in the videos. Finally, Duane Degler, a principal in the consulting firm Design for Context, along with his colleague, Mark Eberman, have kindly served as design consultants on the website.
It is not possible for me to overstate my gratitude to Jennifer Henel, who, as overall project manager, helped guide the catalogue with her extraordinary dedication, great skill, and unwavering good humor. She not only communicated with the authors, translators, and editors, but she also kept track of the many drafts of texts and ordered the many comparative illustrations in the catalogue. Her knowledge and expertise in online publishing were essential in our efforts to create a compelling and user-friendly website. I am also enormously indebted to Nicole E. Cook and Alexa J. McCarthy who, as successive project coordinators at The Leiden Collection, oversaw the final stages of the catalogue prior to its official launch in January 2017.
The launch of the catalogue is a milestone that has come about through the commitment of many people. It will not only provide a firm foundation for a greater appreciation of the Collection, but also more broadly of seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish art. This catalogue, however, is but a window on scholarship and on a collection at a specific point in time. The great advantage of an online catalogue is that it is a living document that can be amended and revised as new information comes to light, new features are added, and the Collection expands. The catalogue also provides an opportunity for readers to submit comments and corrections that can be incorporated in future revisions, which are planned to occur on an annual basis. The texts in this edition of the catalogue, as well as in all future ones, will be archived. In this way, an historical record of the Collection and the scholarship presented in each of its manifestations will always exist. Most importantly, our hope is that this catalogue will fulfill Thomas and Daphne Kaplan’s wish to transmit to others the immense joy that Dutch and Flemish paintings and drawings have brought to them and their family.
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.