Margareta Haverman, “A Vase of Flowers” (1716), oil on wood (image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

We don’t know much about the life of Margareta Haverman, painter of “A Vase of Flowers” (1716), but what we do know is fascinating. The Dutch still life painter was apprenticed to Jan van Huysum, who famously didn’t take on pupils, but was coaxed into it by Haverman’s father. Despite her skill, or perhaps because of it, Haverman brushed up against the ego of her teacher, and he forced her out of his tutelage under circumstances that would have filled gossip blogs 300 years later. She later enrolled in the influential Académie Royale in Paris only to be expelled, likely under suspicion that her work was in fact Van Huysum’s. Today, only two signed Haverman paintings remain, with a small number attributed to her over the centuries that followed.

Nonetheless, her work made a tremendous impact. “A Vase of Flowers” hangs in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it has been a part of the museum’s collection since its earliest days in 1871. The painting will be the subject of a ticketed talk this week at the Met called “In Praise of Painting: Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age.” Tickets are on sale for $30 and include same-day admission to the museum.

According to the museum, it will touch on “the lives and works of female artists in the Dutch Golden Age, with a focus on Haverman’s magnificent floral still life.” That means Haverman but also Gesina ter Borch, an artist and artist’s model. “A Vase of Flowers” is the only painting by an early modern Dutch woman in the museum’s collection and an intricate example of the form. In the painting you’ll find tulips, cabbage roses, carnations, marigolds, and over a half-dozen other types of flowers, not to mention fruits, various insects, and a lone, intrepid snail. Last year, the museum gave the painting a conservation treatment.

When: Thursday, May 23, 11:00 am
Where: The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd Street & Fifth Avenue, Manhattan)

The talk will be given by Adam Eaker, Assistant Curator of European Paintings at the Met. More info at the Met.

Eric Vilas-Boas is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic. He has previously worked at Thrillist, Esquire, SPIN,, and his writing has appeared at Vulture, Slashfilm, Lit Hub, Paste,...