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de Young lands ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’

The once-dowdy, now-stunning de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park has scored one of the world’s most famous paintings.

Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl With A Pearl Earring” will visit San Francisco for six months starting next January as part of a touring exhibit from The Hague’s Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis.

The last time “Girl With A Pearl Earring” toured the U.S. in 1995, Scarlett Johannson was 11 and still years away from the title role in the self-titled film.

The de Young — a museum once known more for school field trips than world-class art — is now the fourth most visited art museum in the United States. Only New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery in D.C., attract more visitors than the de Young.

35 paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt and others will make the trip across the pond, beginning their tour in The City before heading east to Atlanta’s High Museum. Ten paintings will then move on to New York’s Frick Collection in a scaled-back show beginning in September.

The paintings are taking an American holiday while the Mauritshuis undergoes a two-year renovation.

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