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Arts and Entertainment

Famous Vermeer Painting Makes Its L.A. Debut at The Getty

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Johannes Vermeer’s painting 'Woman in Blue Reading a Letter' is now on view at the Getty.
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- by Adrienne Dorsey / Special to LAist Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's painting Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is now on view at the Getty Center for its one and only North American appearance before heading back to Europe. Getty visitors will have a rare opportunity to see one of Vermeer's most famous portraits, on special loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam while it's closed for renovations, for the next five weeks.

The only Vermeer on exhibit in Los Angeles, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is one of 35 known works by the 17th century artist, known for his tranquil portraits of domestic life and clever use of light, including Girl with the Pearl Earring (currently at the de Young in San Francisco).

The oil painting is shrouded in mystery, with no conclusive answer on the contents of the letter the woman is intently reading (some art historians say it was intended to be perceived as a love letter) or if she is expecting a child due to her bulky outfit.

Shown in Shanghai and Sao Paolo before making its last tour stop at the Getty, the painting will return to Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum's reopening on April 13. Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is available for viewing now until March 31 in the Getty's East Pavilion.