Walter Liedtke

Walter Arthur Liedtke, Jr. (August 28, 1945 – February 3, 2015)[1] was an American art historian, writer and Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[2] He was known as one of the world's leading scholars of Dutch and Flemish paintings.[1] He died in the 2015 Metro-North Valhalla train crash.[3]

Walter Liedtke
Born(1945-08-28)August 28, 1945
DiedFebruary 3, 2015(2015-02-03) (aged 69)
NationalityUnited States
OccupationArt historian, writer, curator
Years active1974–2015

Early lifeEdit

Liedtke was born in Plainfield, New Jersey,[4] and grew up in Livingston, New Jersey.[4] Liedtke studied Art History, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967 from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a Master of Arts degree in 1969 at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.[5] He received a Doctorate at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Liedtke said that his interest in Dutch paintings began because he was focused on images as a child from hours and hours of watching a lot of TV.[6] He described his aesthetic as that of having a focus on how he responded to visual patterns compared to a more typical perspective focused on story and narratives.[6]



Liedtke planned on a career in academia.[2] For two years Liedtke taught at the Florida State University, then at the University's villa in Florence. In 1974 he was working at the Courtauld Institute in London on his PhD dissertation, "Architectural painting in Delft, 1650–1675,"[7] in which he discussed work of Gerrit Houckgeest, Pieter Saenredam, Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet and Emmanuel de Witte.[8] From 1975 till 1979 he joined the faculty at Ohio State University.

The Metropolitan Museum of ArtEdit

After receiving a Mellon Fellowship he began studying at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was appointed in 1980 as curator and would spend the rest of his career. He organized numerous exhibitions, wrote seven books, including several on Rembrandt and Vermeer, and produced catalogues of the Museum's Dutch and Flemish paintings.

Liedtke served as a curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for thirty-five years. Liedtke specialized in the paintings of Vermeer and the Delft School. The 2001 Liedtke-curated show, "Vermeer and the Delft School" was said to be the most popular art exhibition that year, attracting 555,000 visitors during its three-month run.[9]

At the time of his death he was preparing a catalogue of the museum's collection of Spanish paintings of the 15th to 18th century.[10]

Most recently, he worked on "El Greco in New York," a collaborative project that was co-curated with Keith Christiansen,[11] with the Hispanic Society of America and the Frick Collection held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from November 4, 2014 to February 1, 2015.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

Liedtke was married to Nancy Liedtke a math teacher, artist, and equestrienne.[4] He commuted daily from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side neighborhood of New York City to what he called "the countryside," Bedford Hills, New York in Westchester County.[6] He said that he thought there was something "Dutch" about the way he lived: the idyllic countryside, his 100-year-old home, and his art collection, which he said was quintessentially Dutch in character.[6]


Along with five others, Liedtke died in the February 3, 2015 Metro-North crash,[13][14] at the age of 69.[2][15] Thomas Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, described him as "one of the most distinguished scholars of Dutch and Flemish painting in the world."[2] Many in the art and museum community posted reflections and appreciation of Liedtke's work.[16][17] Memorial statements were widespread, and were both local[18] and international in scope.[4][19][20]


Works and publicationsEdit


  • Liedtke, Walter A. Jr. Architectural Paintings in Delft: 1650–1675. A Thesis (PhD) – University of London (Courtauld Institute of Art), 1974. OCLC 272495491
  • Liedtke, Walter A. Architectural Painting in Delft: Gerard Houckgeest, Hendrick Van Vliet, Emanuel De Witte. Doornspijk, the Netherlands: Davaco, 1982. ISBN 978-9-070-28811-2 OCLC 9554399
  • Liedtke, Walter A., and Anthonis van Dyck. Antony Van Dyck. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985. OCLC 475286414
  • Bauman, Guy C., and Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1992. ISBN 978-9-061-53231-6 OCLC 489445924
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), and Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Museum, 1984. Published in association with the J. Paul Getty Trust. ISBN 978-0-870-99356-5 OCLC 9785292
  • Liedtke, Walter A. The Royal Horse and Rider: Painting, Sculpture, and Horsemanship 1500–1800. New York: Abaris Books, a Woodner Foundation Company, in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. ISBN 978-0-898-35267-2 OCLC 507217109
  • Brejon de Lavergnée, Arnauld, Barbara Brejon de Lavergnée, Katharine B. Baetjer, James David Draper, William M. Griswold, Walter A. Liedtke, Anne Norton, and Annie Scottez-De Wambrechies. Masterworks from the Musée Des Beaux-Arts, Lille. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1992. ISBN 978-0-810-96417-4 OCLC 901055202
  • Liedtke, Walter, Pieter de Hooch, Carel Fabritius, Johannes Vermeer, and Gerard Houckgeest. A View of Delft: Vermeer and His Contemporaries. Zwolle: Waanders, 2000. ISBN 978-9-040-09490-3 OCLC 185854242
  • Liedtke, Walter. 2000. "The Study of Dutch Art in America". Artibus Et Historiae / Istituto Internationale Per Le Ricerche Di Storia Dell'Arte (IRSA). 2, no. 41, 2000. pp. 207–220. ISSN 0391-9064 OCLC 886789750
  • Plomp, Michiel, et al. Vermeer and the Delft School / Walter Liedtke. New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001. ISBN 978-0-870-99973-4 OCLC 819761194
  • Liedtke, Walter A. Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007. ISBN 978-1-588-39273-2 OCLC 156784902
  • Liedtke, Walter A., and Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer: The Complete Paintings. Ghent, Belgium: Ludion Press, 2008. ISBN 978-9-055-44742-8 OCLC 237890666
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), and Liedtke, Walter A. The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer / Walter Liedtke. New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009 OCLC 839735356



  1. ^ a b Campbell, Thomas P. (5 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke, Our Friend and Distinguished Colleague (1945–2015)". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Randy (4 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke, Curator at Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dies at 69". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  3. ^ Tyler, Dana (4 February 2015). "Art Curator Among Those Killed In Valhalla Metro-North Accident" (TV program). CBS2 New York. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Dickey, Stephanie (February 2015). "In Memoriam: Walter A. Liedtke (1945–2015)". Historians of Netherlandish Art. Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  5. ^ Miller, Stephen (4 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke, Met Museum Curator, Vermeer Expert, Dies at 69". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Liedtke, Walter (2011). "Connections: Living with Vermeer" (Multimedia presentation). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  7. ^ Liedtke, Walter A. Jr. (1974). "Architectural Paintings in Delft: 1650–1675" (Thesis (PhD)) |format= requires |url= (help). University of London (Courtauld Institute of Art). OCLC 272495491. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Schwartz, Gary (7 February 2015). "The Young Walter Liedtke". The Schwartzlist. Archived from the original on 2015-02-09. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  9. ^ Feldman, Harry (5 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke, 1945–2015". Art in America. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  10. ^ Jeromack, Paul (4 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke, Met's curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings, killed in train crash". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  11. ^ Rosenbaum, Lee (6 February 2015). ""Deep, Strong Opinions": Met Director Tom Campbell's Remembrances of Curator Walter Liedtke". CultureGrrl: Lee Rosenbaum's cultural commentary. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Walter Liedtke: 1945–2015". Apollo Magazine. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  13. ^ Chung, Jen (4 February 2015). "Cuomo Calls Fatal Metro-North Crash "As Gruesome As I Have Seen"". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  14. ^ Celona, Larry; Harshbarger, Rebecca; Rosario, Frank; Cohen, Shawn (3 February 2015). "6 dead after Metro-North train collides with SUV". New York Post. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  15. ^ Martinez, Alanna (4 February 2015). "Met Museum Curator Walter Liedtke Killed in Metro-North Valhalla Train Crash". New York Observer. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  16. ^ Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K. (6 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke: A Reflection and Appreciation". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  17. ^ Rosenbaum, Lee (4 February 2015). "Walter Liedtke, Consummate Curator of Dutch and Flemish Painting, Dies in a Train Crash (with my late video at the Met)". CultureGrrl: Lee Rosenbaum's cultural commentary. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  18. ^ Lopate, Leonard (6 February 2015). "Tribute: Walter Liedtke" (Audio interviews). The Leonard Lopate Show. WNYC. Retrieved 4 April 2015. Includes 2009 interview on Vermeer and 2007 interview on Rembrandt
  19. ^ Kloos, Robert (4 February 2015). "In Memoriam: Walter Liedtke, Curator of European Paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art". Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  20. ^ "HNA Remembers Walter Liedtke". Historians of Netherlandish Art. February 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-04.

External linksEdit