"George Hendrik Breitner introduced a social realism to the Netherlands that created shock waves similar to that of Courbet and Manet's in France. In his early years, the corn merchant A.P. van Stolk, who was interested in art, played an influential role. He financially supported the young painter from 1877 to 1883, but his conservative taste clashed with Breitner's particular style. The discovery in 1996 of a large collection of photographic prints and negatives made clear that Breitner was also a talented photographer of street life in the city. Sometimes he made various pictures of the same subject, from different perspectives or in different weather conditions. Photos sometimes formed the immediate example for a particular painting, for instance the girls in kimono. On other occasions, Breitner used photography for general reference, to capture an atmosphere, a light effect or the weather in the city at a particular moment. (

"George Hendrik Breitner mainly became famous with his paintings of Amsterdam street life. He studied at various academies, including the Hague Academy, the Polytechnic in Delft, the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam and the Académie Cormon in Paris. In Paris, Breitner came into contact with impressionism. He called his work the opposite to that of Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh made use of bright colours to express the contrasts in his own moods, while Breitner wanted to show pure, naked reality. Breitner travelled frequently, including a trip in 1909 to Philadelphia and New York."
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First Collected by

Annemie Vandeput


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