THE DUTCH IN PARIS at the van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Visitors to Amsterdam’s van Gogh Museum are currently treated to “The Dutch in Paris”. This exhibition sprawls over three floors of the museum’s exhibition wing. Its theme is the influence of French and Dutch painters upon each other, from about 1789 to 1914.

Paris was already an artistic hub before the French Revolution. It offered an important academy with its regular exhibitions resulting in patronage. After the revolution, clientele and art dealers increased considerably. This in turn, attracted artists including many from the Netherlands.

Some artists and art dealer employees, like Theo van Gogh, settled in Paris. Other artists only spend some time there. Think of van Gogh, but also his predecessors and those following in his footsteps.

At the start of the exhibition are beautiful still-lives by van Spaendonck. They and the botanical paintings nearby, are influenced by similar ones from the Dutch Golden Age. Van Spaendonck became a member of the Académie des Beaux Arts.

A video explains why Dutch painters traveled to Paris. It also shows how Paris changed between 1789 – 1914. During the 19th century, Baron Haussmann had large stretches pulled down, replacing them with new buildings and boulevards.

Corot and Johan Barthold Jongkind captured this destruction of old Paris. Jongkind painted the quai de la Tournelle being constructed. Corot’s painting, hanging next to it, may have inspired him.

French and Dutch painters befriended each other. Painters returning to Holland, or their French friends holidaying there, ensured the latest Parisian tastes, subject matter, styles were introduced to other Dutch artists. Impressions of Toqueville and Scheveningen beach hang near each other.

On the second floor, younger generations are drawn to Paris. Van Gogh decides to visit his brother? The Parisian art scene bowls him over. He experiments with colours and new techniques. Gone are the dark, drab, depressing colours of his Dutch paintings. His Parisian street scenes are vibrant and show impressionist influences.

Van Gogh’s generation is followed by the next one. As with van Gogh, van Dongen was influenced by contemporary French artists working and living in Paris. The exhibition end with the abstract works of Picasso and Mondriaan’s response. The First World War erupts and life will never be the same.

The theme of Dutch painters in Paris continuous at the The Hague Mesdag Collection. The Mesdag Collection’s temporary exhibition focuses on Dutch painters – Mauve, Weissenbruch and others, working in Barbizon.

In Dordrecht, the Dordts Museum focuses on Jongbloed and his many French friends, including Monet. Its exhibition contains some really impressive works.

The temporary exhibitions at the van Gogh Museum and the Mesdag Collection can be visited till the 7th of January 2018. The exhibition at the Dordts Museum welcomes visitors till the 27th of May 2018.    Kate Den    December 2017


Click here to read our review of the Mesdag Collection companion exhibition THE DUTCH IN BARBIZON

Painting shown is Quai de Tournelle by Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) courtesy of Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam