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Kitchen-  The Luykas Van Alen House, Kinderhook, New York

"By presenting photographs of houses as cultural icons, we gain insight into an important but disappearing part of our Netherlandish past. The proof is in the images which capture what photographs of houses rarely do, a palpable sense of historical spirit and atmosphere, the result of a deep appreciation and knowledge of American Dutch culture.

                     "Geoffrey Gross' photographs of early houses have been compared favorably to that special
quality which animates the painting of
Jan Vermeer."



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  The Pieter Bronk House Coxsackie (Greene Co.) N.Y. c.1663

Pieter Bronk built this one room house about 1663. A true pioneer home of just one room, it is the oldest surviving structure in the Hudson Valley and our guide to visualizing life in the 17th century. The steep roof, casement windows, and fieldstone walls represent a time when Indians and wolves were still a challenge to life and stock.
The early scripture painting is a reminder of Dutch faith and Biblical parallels to their own experiences. A later paneled fireplace wall with cupboards marks the advance of English culture in the Hudson Valley just before the Revolution. -Rod Blackburn, August, 1999


The Arriantje Coeymans House - Window
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Coeymans (Albany Co.) N.Y. 1717/18

Artists see relationships where others see mere objects. It is in the relationship of objects within light and shadow that artists, whether with brush or camera, focus our eyes on the significant and the beautiful. This photo is a case in point. A window in a closet looking onto a blank wall is a perplexing and thus distracting. But with the right objects, light, and arrangement it becomes a visual delight which, like good music, does not tire with repetition. It is a gestalt, like good art, it is more than a sum of its parts.

 When the Coeymans house was renovated in  the 1790s one early Dutch window with original painted shutters and (now restored) leaded casements escaped . It survived because it was hidden from view by an enclosed passageway to the old house. The now muted yellow, green, and orange of the window testify to the vibrant sense of color the Dutch had, and which we are just now discovering.



Van Alen House
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 There really is no enigma to any Vermeer painting. You simply have to study the culture which produced this wonderful artist.  It is then that the hidden meaning of his art begins to reveal itself.  The painting becomes alive with the culture which in so many, many ways evolved into contemporary America.

This same "aliveness" is with us today,  evident in the objects which surround us from the New Netherland period.

It is through visual presentation that these objects reveal themselves to us in the manner of Vermeer.

Progress  Report

Who We  Are

Fund Raising

 Project Narrative


This is made possible through the kindness and generosity of:


the publication program of
The J.M. Kaplan Fund

The Holland Society

The New York Council For The Humanities &
The National Endowment For The Humanities

The New York Foundation For The Arts

The Society Of The Daughters Of Holland Dames

The Van Voorhees Family Association



More  Vues  of  New Netherland: 


Portfolio Two

Portfolio Three

Mabee Farm

 New Jersey Dutch


Related Studies:

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Jacob Leisler

"Best known as a leader of a 1689 New York rebellion which came to bear his name, Jacob Leisler was one of the most prominent merchants, largest landholders, and foremost exponents of Reformed religious orthodoxy and Orangist political ideology in late seventeenth-century New York. Leisler was intimately bound to the social, economic, and political development of New Netherland and New York from 1659, when he was employed as a nineteen-year-old in the Dutch West India Company's Amsterdam office, until his execution for treason in New York City in May 1691. "

---Dr. David William Voorhees





 C O M M E N T S


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All photographs © Geoffrey Gross  


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