Old Master Minute

NGA decide to reattribute Flute Player to the 'Studio of Vermeer'

By Sotheby's
Picture: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Running until 8 January 2023, the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC present their exhibition ‘Vermeer’s Secrets’. This focused show considers six works either painted by or connected to the great seventeenth century Delft master and provides context to Vermeer’s ever-shrinking oeuvre of accepted works. Indeed, the present exhibition announces the relegation of one of the gallery’s holdings, Girl with a Flute (c. 1669-1675), to ‘Studio of Johannes Vermeer’, having previously been thought autograph.

Although this show presents an exciting opportunity to view three genuine Vermeers alongside two acknowledged forgeries in the full light of recent technical analysis, the outlying ‘Studio’ work Girl with a Flute remains something of an art historical mystery. A recent The Art Newspaper article agrees with the National Gallery of Art’s observation that this picture’s physical makeup suggests Vermeer employed studio assistants, but it also points out that there is no surviving documentary evidence for this.

Old Master Minute