I’m enjoying Daily Art.
Today they featured George Henrick Breitner. That led me to to an earlier post, from 2020, about this painting:
I love the feel, the sense of ‘the moment’ that springs from his photography. This capture of the moment reaches a peak with Henri Cartier Bresson. Then reading the description of the painting, usually well done in Daily Art, I reminisced. I lived in Amsterdam until I was six years old and everyone of the names and places that are mentioned in the description of the painting evoke a past that is not quite lost. and no wonder the colour is grey, I think of Amsterdam and think of that light, so different from the light that struck me when we came to Australia. My parents left Amsterdam but never lost their love for the city and I was brought up knowing that some cities were greater than other cities. Sydney where we lived was a great city, but Amsterdam was the greatest city of all. I am an ‘Amsterdammer’, though no one would know.
From the description on Daily Art:
This is the last Sunday of our special month with the Kröller-Müller Museum’s collection in Otterlo. We end it with this quite autumnal painting. We hope you enjoy the selection! : )
George Hendrik Breitner is renowned as a painter of street life, particularly in Amsterdam. In his younger years he spent some time with Vincent van Gogh in The Hague and would later remark that Van Gogh made “art for Eskimos,” as he was primarily concerned with his own experience of reality. He himself opted for pure, bare reality.
He took his sketchbook and camera outside to capture cityscapes and scenes of city life both quickly and effectively, including the Dam Square, the Damrak, and the Rokin, but also the poorer districts such as the Jordaan. He included elegant ladies and housewives, but also dock workers or girls with flapping aprons. The sketches and photographs he made in the streets were developed in his studio. With his fluent, Impressionist style, he succeeded in rendering to canvas the fleetingness of the moment and the atmosphere of bustling city life.
Breitner’s work is not as sunny and colorful as that of the French Impressionists. He preferred the grey, rainy weather