Louis Vuitton's Traveling Trunk for Vermeer's “Milkmaid”

by Niza Metoyer

Louis Vuitton has been entrusted to pack some of the most precious items in the world, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam followed suit with the “Milkmaid” by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. This masterpiece traveled from Amsterdam to Japan in a custom-made trunk by Louis Vuitton for the exhibition “Making the Difference: Vermeer and Dutch Art” at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo.

The Rijksmuseum's General Director Taco Dibbits stated, “The Rijksmuseum and Louis Vuitton share the same heritage in a passion for craftsmanship, quality, and art. We entrusted Louis Vuitton to create a unique trunk for the transport of Vermeer’s masterpiece The Milkmaid. She is one the most special women in our collection, and in this way she travels safely and in style from Amsterdam to the exhibition in Japan.“

Louis Vuitton has always shown its passion for creation and support of the arts, as well as containing a longstanding relationship with the Rijksmuseum. The two reunited through the Art of Travel for the transportation of ‘Milkmaid” sometimes referred to as “The Kitchen Maid” which is an oil-on-canvas painting depicting a domestic kitchen maid in tradition Vermeer style. With dark undertones and bold colors. The painting showcases a maid pouring milk, in a blue apron and bold yellow top front and center with the brightly lit room framing her. Vermeer took a commonplace action and making it the subject of beauty.

The first time Louis Vuitton created a custom order trunk to protect a work of art was in 1924 made in House for René Gimpel, a French art gallerist. This custom trunk allowed Gimpel to travel presenting and proposing stunning masterpieces to clients all over the world. From that point of Louis Vuitton has been trusted by many around the world to not only transport art, but supplies and belongings in luxury.

Custom trunk made for René Gimpel

Custom trunk made for René Gimpel

The trunk handcrafted for “The Milkmaid” was adorned with the iconic monogram canvas with signature brass corners and lock. The splendor does not stop there. The interior featured bold tufted yellow fabric and personalized blue and yellow striped along the exterior to coincide with the bold colors blanketing Vermeer’s canvas.

Photos courtesy of Louis Vuitton