George Hendrik Breitner
(Rotterdam 1857 – Amsterdam 1923)
De hoefsmid (The Farrier)
Signed lower right
Oil on board, 17.0 x 15.1 cm
– Auction Zeeuws Veilinghuis, Middelburg, 13 December 2007, lot 6024
– Kunsthandel Simonis & Buunk, Ede (inv. no.12552/Coll.I cv)
– Private collection, the Netherlands
George Hendrik Breitner was born in Rotterdam in 1857 and studied at the academy in The Hague. He regarded himself as ‘Le peintre du peuple’ (painter of the people), because he preferred models from the working classes: labourers, maids and inhabitants of the working class quarters, such as the farrier on this painting.
According to writers August Vermeylen (1872-1945) and Joop Siedenburg (1875-1961), Breitner painted this subject four times of which one is part of the collection of the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam.
Farriers were also a recurring subject in Breitner’s photography, as he captured the blacksmith shop on the Goudsesingel in Rotterdam several times. From these visits, he drew much of his inspiration for this painting.
Second photo: George Hendrik Breitner – View of the Blacksmith shop on the Goudsesingel te Rotterdam, c. 1904-1906 © RKD