Dallas artist LaToya Jones’ gleaming interpretation of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring caught the attention of curators at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Netherlands, which has chosen it for a wildly creative group show honoring Vermeer’s 1665 masterpiece. The exhibit, “My Girl with a Pearl Earring,” runs through June 4, 2023, in the museum’s Vermeer Room, where the famed painting normally resides – it’s currently out on loan for a major Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Jones’ opportunity came about after the museum issued an international call last year for artists to send their own versions of Girl with a Pearl Earring. While museum curators expected a few hundred entries, they were deluged with almost 3,500 submissions from 69 countries. Only 170 were chosen for the show, and jurors were delighted by the artists’ imaginations and clever use of materials. While some works are painted or drawn, others are made of wool, clay, wood, fabric, petals, buttons, ceramic, vegetables, fruit, shells, glass beads, balloons, Legos, or even in the form of a tattoo.
Jones’ complex mixed-media works involve photography and a host of different digital paint programs and platforms. Using a high-definition macro lens, the artist — who often uses actual gemstones in her sculptures and works on canvas — photographed hundreds of yellow diamonds, blue sapphires, and 24K gold pieces. She imported the images into a program that allowed her to “paint” her very own Girl in digital form.
The task was daunting. “I had to create my version of a master’s work — Vermeer is known for his use of light, and I had to get the light to fall just right and the fabric to fall perfectly. It took hours upon hours upon hours,” Jones says. She sourced countless pearls to photograph for the famous earring before finding one that resonated with the size and color Vermeer painted. Using a 3D printer, the Mauritshuis museum created an exact copy of the original Girl’s frame to display Jones’ fine art print.
“Vermeer used oil paints as his medium, but what if he had the technology and means we have today — what could he have created?” Jones wonders.
For information and to view other inventive works in the show, visit mauritshuis.nl.