The Maida and George Abrams Collection is one of the finest assemblages ever brought together of Dutch drawings, featuring works from the late 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The core of the collection is the splendid range of 17th-century drawings. In the northern Netherlands, the 17th century saw not only liberation from Spanish dominance in politics and religion but also the emergence of a mercantile, middle-class society that set the pattern for our own. Drawing as well as painting flourished, much of it directly reflecting middle-class tastes and values.
Some of these drawings, particularly the figure drawings, were studies for works in other media, such as paintings or engraved illustrations, but many others were conceived as finished works in their own right. The subject matter is lively and varied: portraits, landscapes, and scenes of everyday life coexist with the more traditional allegorical, mythological, or religious themes. An outstanding feature of the collection is the many highly finished studies of natural history subjects. This is the second of two selections from the Abrams Collection.