Tracking down Vermeer’s paintings in Europe

Where to view Vermeer’s paintings

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), whose acute eye captured the quiet beauty of Dutch domestic life, was not a prolific artist: just 36 paintings are widely acknowledged as his work. Born and died in Delft, Netherlands, he is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. Now, anyone who wanted to see all of his works had to travel far and wide — to New York, London, Paris and beyond.

The 35 (or 37?) paintings generally accepted as by Vermeer are divided between Europe (22) and America (14). The Saint Praxedis, which would be the 37th painting by Vermeer, is only weakly supported by authorities, and it is on public view in Japan. Vermeer’s Concert, once housed in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, was stolen in March 18, 1990 and has not been recovered since.

Between Amsterdam and The Hague (60 kilometers apart) there are seven Vermeer paintings including some of his finest works. Between New York and Washington (350 kilometers apart) there are 12 paintings a 13th, questionable work, in private hands in New York.

If you are traveling specially to view one or more paintings by Vermeer, always contact the museum beforehand to be sure the painting(s) you wish to see are on display at the moment. Paintings can be on temporary loan or in restoration.

Here are the museums with the more famous paintings:

No. Painting Title/Location
1 Diana and her Companions
c. 1653–1656Mauritshuis,
The Hague
2 View of Delft
c. 1660–1663Mauritshuis,
The Hague
3 Girl with a Pearl Earring
c. 1665–1667Mauritshuis,
The Hague
4 The Milkmaid
c. 1657–1661Rijksmuseum,
5 Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
c. 1662–1665Rijksmuseum,
6 The Little Street
c. 1657–1661Rijksmuseum,
7 The Love Letter
c. 1667–1670Rijksmuseum,
8 The Lacemaker
c. 1669–1671Musée du Louvre,
9 The Astronomer
1668Musée du Louvre,
10 The Geographer
c. 1668–1669Städelsches Kunstinstitut,
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
11 A Lady Standing at a Virginal
c. 1670–1674National Gallery,
12 A Lady Seated at a Virginal
c. 1670–1675National Gallery,

For the complete list and more details: