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Finding aid for the J. G. van Gelder papers, ca. 1930-1980
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: J. G. (Jan Gerrit) van Gelder papers
    Date (inclusive): circa 1906-1981
    Number: 840021
    Creator/Collector: Gelder, J. G. van (Jan Gerrit), 1903-1980
    Physical Description: 18.0 linear feet (37 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Dutch art historian. Correspondence, notes, photographs, offprints, and annotated books and journals, the bulk organized according to the historical period or artist to which the material pertains. The largest single group of material belongs to the re-publication project of J. B. de la Faille's catalogue raisonné of the work of Vincent van Gogh.
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    Language: Collection material is in Dutch; Flemish

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Jan Gerrit van Gelder was the eldest son of H.E. van Gelder (1876-1960) who was director of the municipal museum of The Hague from 1912 to 1941. In 1922, while still at the gymnasium in The Hague, he published his first article on Dutch landscape painting from the 16th to the 20th century. In 1923 Van Gelder enrolled as a student in art history at the University of Utrecht. He studied there with W. Vogelsang, then one of the most prominent art historians in the Netherlands. However, Van Gelder did not spend much time at Utrecht while studying for his degree; already in 1924, he obtained a position as research assistant at Museum Boymans in Rotterdam. He remained at Boymans until 1940, and, from 1936, was conservator of the library and the print collection. In 1933, he received his doctoral degree for his dissertation dealing with the role of Jan van de Velde in early seventeenth century Dutch painting.
    During the war, Van Gelder worked on the government office for art historical documentation. In 1945, he was appointed director of the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. One year later he accepted a professorship in art history at the University of Utrecht. With this position came the directorship of the Institute for Art History (Kunsthistorisch Instituut) as well. After a drawn-out conflict with other members of the faculty at Utrecht, Van Gelder was given his own research institute by the university (Centrum voor Voortgezet Kunsthistorisch Onderzoek) in 1966. He worked there until his retirement in 1973.
    A detailed account of Van Gelder's approach to art history and his place among Dutch art historians can be found in Chris Stolwijk, Die wetenschap noemen Gij en ik kunstgeschiedenis;... Denken over kunstgeschiedenis in Nederland: Jan van Gelder (1903-1980), Steenwijkk: Van Kerkvoorde & Hollander 1952.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    J. G. van Gelder Papers, 1906-1981, Research Library, The Getty Research Insititute, Accession no. 840021.

    Acquisition Information

    The Getty acquired the collection in 1984.

    Processing History

    The collection had been incompletely processed at an earlier time, probably soon after its arrival in 1984, but no exact date is available. Edvard Pettersson processed and cataloged the collection in the Spring of 1994. Four books were transferred from the collection to the Center Library.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers in this collection were acquired along with van Gelder's library. Much of the material was found inside van Gelder's books; generally, folders have been labeled with the name of the book in which the papers were found. Some of the books are now located in the Center Library.
    The papers cover a wide variety of art topics and periods, reflecting van Gelder's broad range of interest. While the papers were not formally organized at the time of acquisition, the order in which they were found has been retained as much as possible. Overall, the material divides into the various periods of art history. Within each period, there are sections dealing with both the period in general and with individual artists of that period. These sections contain material from van Gelder's own publications (indicated by the initials "JvG"), publications by other scholars, miscellaneous materials from books now located in the Center Library, and annotated books and catalogues. However, this organization is only rough at best. In order to respect van Gelder's viewpoint as much as possible, materials that were found together have been kept together in the collection, even if some do not relate to the same overall period or artist as the other materials.
    The largest single group of material is that which deals with the republication of J. B. de la Faille's Catalogue Raisonné of the works of Vincent van Gogh. This project was commissioned by the Dutch government in 1962, and it took a team of scholars ten years to prepare the new catalogue. The collection contains various drafts for the catalogue entries, photographs of the works of Van Gogh, as well as correspondence of the members of the editorial board and notes of the board meetings. All the material pertaining to this project has been kept together and is found at the end of the collection in Series XII.


    The papers are organized in twelve series: Series I. General art, art history, and cultural history, ca. 1930-1978; Series II. Dutch art, general, 1941-1980; Series III. 15th and 16th century Dutch and Flemish art, 1932-1980; Series IV. Rubens, 1938-1981, n.d.; Series V. 17th century Dutch art, 1927-1981; Series VI. Rembrandt, 1925-1980; Series VII. 18th and 19th century Dutch art, 1938-1978; Series VIII. Vincent van Gogh (not including Catalogue Raisonné), 1928-1978; Series IX. 20th century Dutch art, 1938-1980, n.d.; Series X. Non-Dutch art, 1926-1981; Series XI. Miscellaneous materials, 1920-1980; Series XII. Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue Raisonné, 1959-1974, n.d.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Bisschop, Jan de, 1628-1671
    Bol, Ferdinand, 1558-1617
    Bosch, Hieronymus, d. 1516
    Bouts, Dieric, 1415-1475
    Bruegel, Pieter, ca. 1525-1569
    Buytewech, Willem Pietersz, 1591 or 2-1624
    Cuyp, Aelbert, 1620-1691
    Dürer, Albrecht, 1471-1528
    Faille, J.-B de la (Jacob-Baart), 1886-1959
    Gogh, Vincent van, 1853-1890
    Goltzius, Hendrik, 1558-1617
    Hals, Frans, 1584-1666
    Israëls, Jozef, 1824-1911
    Koch, Pyke, 1901-1991
    Lievens, Jan, 1607-1674
    Mander, Carel van, 1548-1606
    Orley, Bernard van, d. 1542
    Post, Frans Jansz, 1612-1680
    Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669
    Reni, Guido, 1575-1642
    Rubens, Peter Paul, 1577-1640
    Scorel, Jan van, 1495-1562
    Velde, Jan van de, 1568-1623
    Vermeer, Johannes, 1632-1675
    Willink, Carel, 1900-

    Subjects - Topics

    Art historians
    Painting, Dutch
    Painting, Flemish
    Painting, French

    Subjects - Titles

    The works of Vincent van Gogh: his paintings and drawings

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original


    Benesch, Otto, 1896-1964
    Hellinga, Wytze Gs., 1908-
    Hofstede de Groot, C. (Cornelis), 1863-1930
    Laman Trip-de Beaufort, Henriette, 1890-
    Panofsky, Erwin, 1892-1968
    Roskill, Mark W. (Mark Wentworth), 1933-2000
    Schmidt-Degener, F. (Frederik), 1881-1941
    Waal, H. van de (Henri), 1910-1972