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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on March 25th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 4 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 4

Elverhoj Museum extends rare Rembrandt exhibition through July in light of COVID-19 precautions

By CALEB WISEBLOOD

Originally scheduled to run through the end of May, the Elverhoj Museum’s Legacy of Decency: Rembrandt, Jews, and Danes exhibition will remain on display through July, although the museum is temporarily closed without an official reopening date. The museum’s closure was announced on March 17, with a statement from Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. 


Exhibit extension
The Legacy of Decency: Rembrandt, Jews, and Danes, originally set to close in May, has been extended to remain at the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art through July, although the museum is currently closed indefinitely. Call (805) 686-1211 or visit elverhoj.org for more details. The museum is located at 1624 Elverhoy Way, Solvang.

HERE COMES THE BRIDE
The Great Jewish Bride is one of 21 rare Rembrandt prints included in The Legacy of Decency: Rembrandt, Jews, and Danes, the latest exhibition at the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art in Solvang.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ELVERHOJ MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ART

“We look forward to reopening at the guidance of public health officials and will be sending updates as soon as we can,” Bates said in the statement. “Although we had hoped to stay open, Elverhoj considers the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers, and staff the most important factors at this time.”

But Bates’ message also indicated “a bit of good news” with a confirmation of Legacy’s extended stay at the museum. The exhibit showcases several rare prints by legendary Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) and is on loan from the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, located at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. 

The opportunity to obtain the exhibit for Elverhoj arose during a quarterly meeting between the executive directors of Santa Barbara County museums, which Bates regularly attends, she told the Sun.


BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS
“If pressed to select just one favorite, it is The Triumph of Mordecai (pictured). [Rembrandt] pushed the process of printmaking to new limits,” Elverhoj Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates said. “His masterly use of the drypoint shows in his work.”
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ELVERHOJ MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ART

“We share information, experiences, and resources, while also collaborating and supporting each other,” Bates said. “It was a chance discussion with the executive director of the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art that led to the loan of these 21 Rembrandt etchings—a gift from the collection of Howard and Fran Berger to Westmont.”

Each selected print highlights Rembrandt’s nuanced relationship with Amsterdam’s Jewish citizens during his lifetime, Bates said. The art is paired with displays detailing the Danish WWII rescue of their Jewish population, while most of the etchings themselves depict biblical stories, with subjects including Jacob and his sons (including Joseph the dreamer, of course), Queen Esther, and Mordecai. 

“It is amazing to view artwork created nearly 400 years ago, to get up close and examine the works of a master—here in Solvang,” Bates said. “If pressed to select just one favorite, it is The Triumph of Mordecai. [Rembrandt] pushed the process of printmaking to new limits. His masterly use of the drypoint shows in his work.”


JACOB’S FAVORITE SON
Most of the Rembrandt etchings on display depict biblical stories, with subjects including Joseph the dreamer (pictured, center); his father, Jacob; and his brother, Benjamin, along with Queen Esther, Mordecai, and other figures.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ELVERHOJ MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ART

Acclaimed artistry aside, the history of ownership behind each print adds an extra rewarding component to the exhibit.

The Great Jewish Bride also fascinates me, in part because the etching on display was once part of the collection of King Ferdinand II of Portugal,” Bates said. “It bears his collector’s stamp from the 1800s. It’s amazing to think of where these etchings have been over the centuries.”

While the coronavirus pandemic has interrupted far more than Elverhoj’s latest exhibition, Bates suggests that community members—artists or not—embrace “the healing power of art” during this difficult time period.

“The threat of COVID-19 is impacting us all. It’s time for all of us to get creative,” Bates said. “Studies have shown that making art reduces stress and anxiety, even if you aren’t good at it. I think we will see some powerful art during this time of uncertainty, and it will aid community healing.” 

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood wants to see what you’ve been working on. Send your latest art projects to cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.








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