60. George Hendrik Breitner
George Hendrik Breitner
(Rotterdam 1857 – Amsterdam 1923)
View of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Amsterdam
Oil on canvas, 75.6 x 50.8 cm
– Collection of Mr. M. Zwart, Rotterdam
– Private collection, The Netherlands
George Hendrik Breitner was born in 1857 in Rotterdam. In 1876 he was admitted to the Academy in The Hague, after which he was allowed to work in the studio of Willem Maris for the period of a year. During this early period he was influenced by the painters of the The Hague School. Breitner had a preference for working with models from the lower classes: labourers, maids and the inhabitants of the working-class quarters, and viewed himself as ‘Le peintre du peuple’ (painter of the people). In 1886 he moved to Amsterdam, where he recorded city life in sketches, paintings and photographs. He sometimes depicted a particular subject several times, seen from various viewpoints and in different weather conditions. His photographs often served as direct example for a particular painting, for instance with the girls wearing kimonos, but sometimes just serving as study material. The Oudezijds Achterburgwal with its rythm and the reflection of the houses that blur in the distance intrigued this artist.
Breitner often worked together with Isaac Israels, resulting in a special friendship. Both painters are considered important Amsterdam Impressionists.