Thursday, September 5, 2019

George Hendrik Breitners - The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is yet another great collection of art in Amsterdam. While it's best known for its Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings, it was a pleasure to view the work of George Hendrik Breitner.

Each of these three paintings are somewhat dark and moody paintings, with subtle pops of color that lead the viewer through the image.

What most attracted me to Breitner's work is the overall sense of pattern and texture that is prevalent in the paintings, similar to the work of Edouard Vuillard. Even in the flat areas of this painting, such as the sky, the paint texture itself adds an additional pattern.


"The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam" • George Hendrik Breitner • 1898 • Oil on Canvas • 100 x 152 cm
I just love that the face of the central figure is more of a pattern than a portrait due to the material draped over her face.

"The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam" Detail • George Hendrik Breitner • 1898 • Oil on Canvas • 100 x 152 cm
 Breitner often worked from photographs, and the center figure of this painting was initially depicted as a maid, but after a negative review, the gallery representing him felt it would be better if he made her into an elegant lady. The textural quality of the painting makes it difficult to tell that the woman was repainted.

This piece becomes mostly an abstraction of overlapping lines, shapes and textures. Older wooden ships are locked in the ice in the foreground, while the more modern steam powered ships move past in the background. The small pops of blue, orange and green lead our eyes through the painting.


"Ships In the Ice" • George Hendrik Breitner • 1901 • Oil on Canvas • 115 x 163 cm
The masts and rigging are beautifully and simply painted in thick paint.

"Ships In the Ice" Detail • George Hendrik Breitner • 1901 • Oil on Canvas • 115 x 163 cm
Another simply painted landscape, depicting an exceptionally severe winter. Out of all of the paintings, this one lacks the areas of intense color, adding to the sense of cold and dreary weather. The busy strokes in the foreground trees add a sense of depth to the piece. Breitner is said to have traded this painting for a bicycle when short on cash.

"View of the Oosterpark, Amsterdam, in the Snow" • George Hendrik Breitner • 1892 • Oil on Canvas • 70 x 122 cm
The trees are very simple strokes without any unnecessary detail.

"View of the Oosterpark, Amsterdam, in the Snow" Detail • George Hendrik Breitner • 1892 • Oil on Canvas • 70 x 122 cm

Photos by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.



© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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