In preparation for the exhibition "Golden Age Dutch group portraits," Irene Andessner staged a two-part tableau vivant in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, modeled on the Dutch regent pictures of the Haarlem school. This genre marks the 17th century breach with the tradition of the church and the landed gentry being the sole patrons of the arts. Citizens with high social status become clients of artists and owners of their works, thus laying the foundations for a free market in paintings and sculpture.
In the living pictures Art Protectors, Irene Andessner interprets this historic change as an analogy for our time, in which private collectors are increasingly taking over the functions of state or other public institutions as purchasers and enablers of artistic production.
Participating in the opening performance were the General Director and Deputy General Director of the KHM, as well as Austrian gallery owners and art collectors.
As portrait subjects, they become protagonists and, at the same time, protectors in the sense of patrons, collectors, exhibitors and guardians of the visual arts.
The reference images are two group portraits from 1667 women/men companion pieces by the Haarlem master Jan de Bray. Irene Andessner staged them in the characteristic style of the period. Photographs of the two tableaux vivants were processed in the size of historical paintings and presented in the framework of the "Golden Age" historical exhibition.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2010
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