After the Concert
The Concert is one of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum the night of March 17-18, 1990. George Deem visited the Museum the afternoon of March 17, 1990 to look at The Concert.
For 40 years, George Deem (b. 1932) has queried artistic representation in paintings that cite past masters, from Caravaggio to Gilbert Stuart, Velazquez to Whistler, Raphael to Picasso. The artist he has pursued most doggedly is Vermeer, and in his current show at Pavel Zoubok Gallery he presents 10 works that reconsider, appropriate, and otherwise play with the Dutchman's iconic compositions. The result is a series of pictorial and conceptual riffs on the history of art, perspective painting, and the enigmatic Vermeer himself that grow in richness and satisfaction the longer you contemplate them.
In "After the Concert" (2005), Mr. Deem erases the characters from Vermeer's "The Concert" so that the viewer faces a stage set without actors. He also zooms out to expose a wider frame with new details and removes the two paintings on the back wall of Vermeer's original, leaving in their stead two lonely naked nails. This playful revision alludes to the fact that "The Concert" was stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Ever since, the museum, following stipulations in Gardner's will, has been forced to display the empty frames. (David Grosz,"Getting Real, Looking Back: George Deem, Pavel Zoubok Gallery," The New York Sun, November 2, 2006).
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