La Princesse de Broglie, granddaughter of Madame de Stael, will be delighted to receive you between 10:00 and 18:00, on most days. She only recently returned to Europe for a short visit. She intends to leave again around the 10th of May.
By the way: you may also know her as la Comtesse d’Haussonville. She does occasionally receive visitors during the early evening, but day-time visits are preferred. If that’s really impossible for you, please check with staff for her early evening soirees. (See below.)
And don’t forget to take along your calling card! Staff like to scan these, to ensure you have an appointment. She’s rather a sensation at the moment, you know. On certain days, visitors do queue right around the corner of her temporary The Hague home.
La Duchesse collects all the calling cards left during the day. In the evening, she checks them. So do polish up on calling card etiquette (see below). Imagine leaving the bottom right corner folded – when your condolences are totally misplaced!
Yes, Ingres caught her out. After a quick look at the cards, she leaves them in a heap on the marble chimney-piece. You’ll notice this heap behind her – provided she receives you.
Of course, la Duchesse did not travel alone. On arrival, she was accompanied by an impressive number of suitcases and baggage – some women never travel light. She’s staying at that new, modern wing of the Mauritshuis in The Hague. So after calling on her, you can head for the other entrance and pay the Girl with a Pearl Earring a visit.
Once past staff at madame’s wing, you enter her salon which leads to three or four other rooms. They give an impression of madame’s New York home, where rooms are full of exquisite art.
The thirty-something masterpieces which accompanied madame – to prevent her becoming homesick – include an intriguing Augsburg clock, statues, bronzes, paintings, drawings, and much more. Of course, there’s also a video explaining how la Comtesse d’Haussonville ended up in New York.
Among the fabulous paintings on show are pieces by Constable, Reynolds and many others. I especially loved the landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael. It seems to draw you in for a walk to a very distant horizon.
I wasn’t sure if the bust of Beatrice d’ Aragon was a portrait of a very innocent, or a very secretive and sly girl. You’ll have to make up your mind yourself.
This stark portrait bust forms a sharp contrast to the one of Louis-Étienne Vincent-Marniola. The lace and cloth of his costume is rendered exquisitely.
As the quality of the pieces on show is so awfully impressive, it’s difficult to select favourites. I’ll certainly visit Madame la Comtesse d’Haussonville and the other masterpieces of this temporary exhibition as often as I can. But as for favourites … no amount of visits will help me decide.
I can only advise you to visit this temporary exhibition of selected pieces from the Frick Collection too, before they all return to New York around the 10th of May 2015. You will not regret your visit to the Mauritshuis in The Hague!
To check la Comtesse’s visiting hours: The Frick Collection – Art Treasures from New York
For calling card etiquette: the use of Victorian calling cards