The Viceroy Tulip Bulb or 10 Rembrandt Paintings! Culture, Commerce and Drama in Holland’s Golden Age

WILSON, N.C. — On April 9, Barton College’s Artist-in-Residence J. Chris Wilson will give an illustrated lecture on the Dutch Golden Age. The latest in the “Lunch and Learn” Art Seminar Series sponsored by the Barton Art Galleries and the Barton College Friends of Visual Arts, this event will be held from Noon until 1 p.m. in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center and will include lunch. The cost is $10 per person for Friends of the Visual Arts members and $20 for non-members. Reservations are required. Please contact Bonnie LoSchiavo in the Barton Art Galleries at 252-399-6477 or email

“Holland’s Golden Age roughly spanned the 17th century and was a period of the unparalleled rapid development into a major world force in commerce and art,” explains Wilson. “At a moment in time in February 1637, a single tulip bulb sold for the unimaginable sum equal to the value of 10 Rembrandt paintings at the pinnacle of what is now called Tulipmania. The sum paid for the single tulip bulb was also 10 times the annual salary of a skilled craftsman or the price for a town house in Amsterdam. It was also a period of extremes in other areas of culture.”

Wilson adds that both the Viceroy Tulip and Semper Augustus Tulip sold for record prices in the speculative market at the height of Tulipmania.

Wilson’s slide lecture will cover the historical, cultural, and artistic achievements of this remarkable period, including a survey of major artists, leaders in the field of portraits like Rembrandt, genre like Vermeer, landscapes like Ruisdael, and still lifes like Claesz Heda. Time will be reserved at the end of the presentation for questions.

Wilson, having served on the Barton College faculty for 38 years, was named professor emeritus of art in spring 2012. With a passion for bringing art into the community, he has been involved in symposia, community presentations, and publications on art, decorative arts, and historic preservation. Wilson has also served on the boards of the Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council, the Arts Council of Wilson, the Board of Advisors for Preservation/NC. He currently serves on the board of the Blount Bridgers Museum/Hobson Pittman Memorial Foundation, the Board of Directors of Preservation NC, and The Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County.

Most recently, he is working on a 100-painting series “From Murphy to Manteo — An Artist’s Scenic Journey” of which a number of works are currently on view at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Wilson was the subject of a feature article in the March issue of “Our State” magazine.

Wilson earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia, where he also completed post-graduate work, with Lamar Dodd as his major professor. He has exhibited throughout the Southeast and across all of North Carolina. Wilson’s art is represented in numerous public and private collections in the United States, especially in the Southeast, and in England, Japan and Saudi Arabia.