Presented in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage of discovery and celebrating the lasting legacy of Dutch culture in New York, this exhibition (and catalogue) explore(s) the world of a fascinating woman, her family, and the possessions she accumulated over an eventful lifetime. Margrieta van Varick was born in 1649 in the Netherlands, but she spent many years at the extremes of the Dutch world-in Malacca on the Malay Peninsula and in Flatbush, now part of Brooklyn. She arrived in New York in 1686 with her husband, a Dutch Reformed minister, and set up a textile shop, bringing with her an array of objects from the Far East and Europe. Her shop goods, along with her household furnishings, were meticulously recorded in an estate inventory made after her death in 1695. The inventory lay forgotten for more than two hundred years but was rediscovered in the twentieth century, pointing the way to new research into the histories of New York City, the Dutch overseas trading empire, women, and material culture. Although to date it has been impossible to link specific objects to the items in Margrieta’s inventory, representative objects serve as springboards to discussions by a group of more than thirty leading curators and scholars. The intense investigation of the past by this wide group of scholars holds up a mirror to present-day New York and serves as a reminder of a vanished world.

Deborah L . Krohn
Associate Professor and Coordinator for History and Theory of Museums, Bard Graduate Center

John Guy
Curator of South & Southeast Asia, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Textiles, Spices and Luxury Goods: The Dutch Experience in 17th Century Southeast Asia

Karina Corrigan
H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art, Peabody Essex Museum
Asia in Amsterdam

Joyce Goodfriend
Professor of History, University of Denver
The Dutch in British New York