To You They're Blobs of Colour, To Art, They Sparked a New Movement

The Hague is featuring the artworks of four Dutch artists who pioneered a lesser known style of Impressionism.
Wednesday 18 July 2018
Jan Toorop (1858-1928),

Many are familiar with the famous Pointillist works of Seurat, Van Gogh and Pissarro, often depicting the pristine views of the French countryside.

Fewer, however, are likely to know the works of Jan Toorop, Jacoba van Heemskerck and Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig – who, together with Mondrian, were part of a Dutch art movement that paralleled the French style of Neo-Impressionism.

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Jan Toorop (1858-1928), “Sea and Dune at Zoutelande,” 1907 Photo: Courtesy of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Rather than finding their subjects in the villages and landscapes of Provence, these artists drew inspiration from the Netherlands’ Zeeland coast – its beaches, dunes and villages, all bathed in light.

The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague will spotlight these artists in its upcoming show ‘By the Sea’, with 60 works in the Luminist style inspired by Zeeland, where the four artists – all at different stages of their careers – enjoyed close contact from 1908 to 1915, visiting frequently, sharing their experiences and making art that prioritised light and colour.

Toorop was the first of the four to visit Zeeland, in 1898, taking an interest in its people and creating works in a Pointillist style before moving on to looser brushstrokes.

Mondrian, who first visited Domburg in Zeeland in 1908, was initially driven to depict the houses and other buildings in the region, later moving on to sea views and dune landscapes that, according to the museum, were based on his “inner perception of nature” rather than objective representations.

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Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig (1866-1915), “Girl from Zeeland,” 1914 Photo: Courtesy of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Van Heemskerck, who came to Zeeland for health reasons and later spent summers there, was inspired by the natural environment.

Influenced by Toorop, she began working in a Luminist style before incorporating Cubist influences and ultimately developing a unique form of Expressionism akin to the German movement Der Sturm.

Nibbrig, encouraged by Toorop to spend a summer in Zeeland in 1911, made Pointillist paintings there until his death in 1915, attempting to capture the bright light and creating calming village and beach scenes that will be featured in the exhibition.

If you’re in the Netherlands this autumn, ‘By the Sea’ will run from 14 July to 18 November.

Through September 16, it will overlap with an exhibition called ‘The Hague School & Scheveningen’, comprising works made by Hague School artists in the seaside resort of Scheveningen who captured the sky, light and water in an entirely different style.

It just goes to show that even close to winter, you can never be too far from the sun and sand.

Additional text by Zoe Ibrahim.

Source: AFP Relaxnews