New Exhibition to Explore Climate, Culture, and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting

De Wind is Op! opens on July 2, 2019 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

NEW BEDFORD, Mass – A new exhibition of Dutch and Flemish maritime art and culture will open at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this summer. De Wind is Op! Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting opens on July 2, 2019 and will run until summer 2020. The Whaling Museum stewards one of the most important collections of maritime Dutch and Flemish paintings and prints outside of the Netherlands, and will showcase a selection within the exhibition while exploring the collection through the lenses of wind, climate, and the sea. An exhibition opening will be held on July 2 at 6:00 p.m. and it is free and open to the public. The Whaling Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Additional information can be found at or by calling (508) 998-0046.

Works highlighted in this exhibition (from pieces circa 1595 through the 19th century), were produced during a time of well-documented climate variations deemed the “Little Ice Age,” which perfectly coincided with one of the most culturally and economically lucrative eras in Dutch history, the “Dutch Golden Age.” The Dutch were a dominant superpower in all things maritime during this period, including worldwide trade, military strength, and whaling. Their commercial successes generated widespread prosperity.  As will be evident in De Wind is Op!, the art world followed, shifting from the religious to the secular, and towards celebrating national and mercantile achievements rather than royalty.

The “Little Ice Age” was a 600-year span of time beginning in the 12th century marked by dramatic and sometimes devastating fluctuations in weather and ocean currents. The Dutch capacity to innovate, as well as their natural geographic position helped them adapt, whereas the “Little Ice Age” had dire consequences for other societies around the world. Artworks in the exhibition demonstrate the Dutch openness to innovation, which allowed them to manipulate their own watery landscapes with dams and wind power, and design ship modifications that maximized successful access to the Northern seas, and lucrative global trade routes.

The sea and seafaring shaped the Dutch collective identity. Dutch artists arguably invented seascape painting and were the first to specialize in this genre. Their influence reverberates in all that followed, from the work of J.M.W. Turner to Winslow Homer to New Bedford artists William Bradford and Albert Pinkham Ryder.

De Wind is Op! Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting is co-curated by Dr. Christina Connett Brophy, the Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator; and Dr. Roger Mandle, Co-Founder of Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA), Former Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Art, and former President of the Rhode Island School of Design.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with the inaugural Summer Winds 2019 led by the New Bedford group Design Art Technology Massachusetts (DATMA). The festival will be a creative and educational city-wide platform for discussion and exploration of wind energy.

The Museum will also collaborate with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) and Harvard Art Museums on a major symposium scheduled for October 18-19, 2019, which will examine Dutch maritime artwork in accordance with the major themes  explored in De Wind is Op!. There will also be a complementary exhibition of European and American prints, paintings, and charts related to wind and climate themes, opening on October 18, 2019.


About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales through time, and the history and culture of the South Coast region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Museum hours: January through March, Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission is: Free for Museum members and children aged three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information, visit


Media and Images Contact:
Tina Malott
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum


Caption (below): The PDP Monogrammist, Ships and Whales in a Tempest. Oil on wooden panel, c. 1595. Fully conserved in 2017 with support from the Rose Lamb Gifford Fund and the Uriel Conservation fund.

PDP Monogrammist


Caption (below): Abraham Matthuys, Ships in Convoy. Oil on canvas, c. 1620s.


Caption (below): Ludolf Backhuyzen, Whaling in the Polar Sea. Oil on canvas, c. 1700.