Volume 20, Issue 1 | Spring 2021

Mirror of Reality: Nineteenth-Century Painting in the Netherlands and Spiegel van de werkelijkheid. 19de-eeuwse schilderkunst in Nederland by Jenny Reynaerts

Reviewed by Lieske Tibbe

Jenny Reynaerts,
Mirror of Reality: Nineteenth-Century Painting in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam and Brussels: Rijksmuseum and Mercatorfonds, 2019.
400 pp.; 521 color illus.; bibliography; notes; index.
$60 and €49.95 (hardcover)
ISBN 978–94–6230–185–6


Jenny Reynaerts,
Spiegel van de werkelijkheid. 19de-eeuwse schilderkunst in Nederland.
Amsterdam and Brussels: Rijksmuseum and Mercatorfonds, 2019.
400 pp.; 521 color illus.; bibliography; notes; index.
$60 and €49.95 (hardcover)
ISBN 978–94–6230–179–5

“A Dutch Museum of the Nineteenth Century. Utopia or Reality?” was the title of a conference held in Amsterdam in 1989. A number of art historians had proposed setting up such an institution for Dutch nineteenth-century art in Amsterdam, following the example of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which had been successfully promoting nineteenth-century art for three years.‍[1] At the time, Dutch nineteenth-century art led an underexposed existence in the Dutch museum system. In the Rijksmuseum, the collection of nineteenth-century paintings was housed in the (then) eccentrically located and little-visited South Wing; the Van Gogh Museum mainly focused on van Gogh’s foreign contemporaries; in the Amsterdam Municipal Museum, the collection of nineteenth-century art—dating from its early days of existence—remained in storage, if it had not already been transferred to the (then) Amsterdam Historical Museum. For the rest, one could find nineteenth-century paintings scattered throughout the country, in The Hague, Rotterdam, and in a few smaller museums.

No one would have called for an art museum devoted specifically to the nineteenth century if a revaluation for this period had not taken place among historians, literary scholars, and art historians beginning in the 1970s. Among other things, the “Werkgroep 19e Eeuw” (Nineteenth Century Working Group), which was founded in 1976, and its magazine De 19e Eeuw (The Nineteenth Century), brought attention to that century and promoted study of it. Since the 1970s a stream of publications has appeared that makes it now possible (and necessary at the same time) to compile an overview of nineteenth-century art. Notably, research has shed light on the “cultural infrastructure” that allowed nineteenth-century art to thrive in the Netherlands. Annemieke Hoogenboom and Chris Stolwijk investigated, for the first and second half of the century, respectively, the social and economic position of artists in a number of art centers: their social status and self-representation, their income position, the art market and the exhibition system.‍[2] Hanna Klarenbeek supplemented this with a study of the situation of the steadily increasing number of female artists in the nineteenth century.‍[3] The author of Mirror of Reality herself, Jenny Reynaerts, wrote the history of the Royal Academy in Amsterdam, where artists trained from 1812 to 1870 (although many of them preferred the art courses in Antwerp, Brussels, or Paris).‍[4] Various studies have been devoted to artists’ associations—the most important of which were Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam (founded 1839) and Pulchri Studio in The Hague (founded 1847). Museums played only a modest role in the art system during the nineteenth century as far as contemporary art was concerned. Government purchases were made at the Exhibitions of Living Masters, but as the century progressed these purchases became increasingly limited. The works that were purchased are now in the Rijksmuseum. Finally, Roel Pots’ book about the official cultural policies, published in 2000, provides a kind of overarching study.‍[5]

A “Dutch museum of the nineteenth century” did not materialize, but nineteenth-century art is now in the spotlight in museums. In the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum (partly restored in its nineteenth-century attire!), the nineteenth century is a full-fledged and well-attended department. The author of the book under review here, Jenny Reynaerts, holds the title of Senior Curator in this department.

The book, with editions in Dutch and English, could be regarded as the crowning glory of all the work of the past decades. Reynaerts herself characterizes it as an “intermediate station” between earlier research and that which is yet to come (13, 378). (At the moment, the art trade is an important point of attention.) The book also occupies an intermediate position in relation to two earlier overviews of nineteenth-century painting that are currently in use. The most important of these is De Hollandsche schilderkunst in de 19de eeuw (Dutch Painting in the Nineteenth Century) by Hermine Marius from 1903, which was reprinted in 1920 and also had two editions in English.‍[6] Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Marius looked back, as it were, at how the art of the past century had “grown” towards her own time. Her attention was mainly focused on the Dutch variant of Impressionism, the so-called “Haagsche School” (Hague School). Her book devoted four of its thirteen chapters (and a third of its pages) to what she saw as the culmination of a painterly development and at the same time an expression of “the greatness, the tranquility and the colorfulness of their country and of their people” (278). Johannes Bosboom (1817–91), Jozef Israëls (1824–1911), the brothers Jacob (1837–99), Matthijs (1839–1917) and Willem Maris (1844–1910), Anton Mauve (1838–88), Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch (1824–1903), Paul Constantin Gabriël (1828–1903), and Henrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915) interpreted this national identity “in the language of their time,” like the great seventeenth-century artists Rembrandt and Vermeer had done in theirs (278).‍[7] What came before The Hague School was seen as “forerunners of –,” or received pejorative qualifications such as “without passion,” “meritorious,” “deftly pastichering,” “slack.” All this was said to be the result of the extinction of the strength of the Dutch people by French domination (1795–1813); recovery was slow and did not really get going until around 1870. Marius regarded the art that came after The Hague School mainly as a “reaction” to it, although, as a contemporary, she was well aware of the art ideas around 1900 and did justice to them. She concluded her book with a description of the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, whom she called a “meteor” pointing the way to the next century (266).

The second, less well-known survey is the 1948 Een eeuw Nederlandse schilderkunst (A Century of Dutch Painting) by Jan Knoef.‍[8] Where Marius characterized the individual stylistic characteristics of artists and, if applicable, explained what the “step forward” was compared to predecessors and teachers, Knoef looked more at collective changes. In accordance with the twentieth-century method of subdividing art into movements, he more or less grouped the artists into movements and styles. But he nuanced that division by indicating that the Dutch “national character” blurred the most pronounced stylistic characteristics. Classicism was less elevated in content and less fixed in form; Romanticism was less intense and moving; Realism and Naturalism were less raw and negative; Impressionism grayer and less optimistic than equivalent directions abroad. Knoef saw intimacy, a sense of mood, attention to everyday things, and a subtle sense of color as constant factors in Dutch art. The Hague School is given no more space in his book than other painterly schools, although he acknowledged that it had had a far-reaching and long-lasting impact and seemed to outshine the Dutch art that came before and after. Van Gogh, whom he classifies under Naturalism, actually exceeds every classification system for him, including the boundaries of the nineteenth century.

The hegemonic position attributed by Marius to the painters of The Hague School in 1903 has determined the vision on Dutch nineteenth-century art for decades; as Reynaerts says, “little attempt has been made to amend this canon” (378). We can recognize this canon, for example, in Poëzie der werkelijkheid (The Poetry of Reality), a catalogue that gathers together the best of nineteenth-century works in Dutch museums.‍[9] This selection includes seventy-one painters—a very small percentage, given that in the nineteenth century there were some 7,300 artists working professionally.‍[10] The catalogues of the Exhibitions of Living Masters—digitized by the RKD/ Netherlands Institute for Art History—contain the names of hundreds of artists who cannot be found in art-historical literature.‍[11] Their work is hardly or not at all represented in public collections; it is privately owned or roams the art trade. Reynaerts has done some justice to that large group by making a much wider choice. However, this does not reveal a drastically different picture of nineteenth-century art production.

The staying power of Marius’s book and vision was related to the fact that it fits the modernist view of art history. According to this view, modern art began in the latter part of the nineteenth century (and later in the Netherlands than in the rest of Europe). From this perspective—art as a chain of avant-garde movements—what came before The Hague School and van Gogh did not originate from a modern sensibility. It was dull and did not count in the history of art. This negative image was also propagated by Marius’s artist contemporaries. Around 1880 the first generation of truly avant-garde artists emerged in the Netherlands. Young literati and visual artists united from 1885 around the magazine De Nieuwe Gids (The New Guide), which continues to enjoy an iconic status. Vilification of the art of previous generations and the idea of ​​a “break” with it was part of the habitus of the New Guide-ers, and Marius, although calmer in tone and more objective in judgment, was a child of her time in that regard. It was only with the slow adoption of postmodern perspectives in Dutch art history, from the 1970s onwards, that the much maligned nineteenth century came to be viewed with different eyes.

The structure of Reynaerts’s book avoids both Marius’s “modernist” line of development and the pigeon-holing of artists in Knoef’s movement-based art history. She makes a global division into four sections or periods, which in turn are subdivided into themes: the changing subject matter of painting, changes in the structure of the art world and in artistic mentality, and interactions with foreign countries. The transitions from one era to another are gradual. On the other hand, Reynaerts refrains from discussions about the vague demarcations of the nineteenth century itself. In historical studies today, a long nineteenth century is assumed, which roughly begins with the influence of the French Revolution (the invasion of the French troops in 1794 marked the end of the two-century-old Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and the beginning of the short-lived Batavian Republic) and ends with the First World War. Reynaerts clearly demarcates the period of the century with two events: 1808 and 1903.

Reynaerts’s starting point is the first Exhibition of Living Masters in 1808, initiated by Napoleon’s brother Louis Bonaparte, the first Dutch king. This exhibition marked the beginning of a new, public art market with a new kind of art audience. Reynaerts assumes that this also meant a shift in the way in which people looked at paintings. She argues that she has tried as much as possible to “imagine the experience of someone in the nineteenth century confronted by major changes within the art world. [. . .] [D]evelopments in painting are addressed from the perspective of the period itself, without the categorization of the value judgment from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries” (13). There is a problem here. A lot of material is left from the nineteenth century that can inform us about how people viewed art (personal writings, press commentary, the beginnings of art historiography), but we still know very little about the experiences of some large segments of the public. Reynaerts sees in the 1808 exhibition the beginning of a “mass culture.” That seems a bit too bold. In spite of the congestion at the Exhibition of Living Masters in 1808, one cannot speak of a mass culture or visual culture in a country where, and at a time when, broad sections of the population—estimates run as high as fifty percent—lived in poverty, had little education, were malnourished, or survived on charity.‍[12] Only after about 1870 did such a thing start in larger cities such as The Hague and Amsterdam. The author also explicitly limits her overview to painting and excludes other visual expressions which could be considered more as the ingredients of a mass culture. Fortunately, she is not entirely consistent in this regard and now and then photography, prints and reproductions, and even panoramas crop up. At the end of her book, the author also nuances her starting point somewhat and points out what still needs to be inventoried and analyzed in order to learn more about the public. Among other things, there is a gap in the field of art criticism. Annemiek Ouwerkerk’s dissertation Tussen kunst en publiek (Between Art and Public), which deals with the first half of the nineteenth century, characterizes the criticisms of the first three decades as benevolent and aimed at promoting a national art production; only in the 1840s did critics become polemic and began to select, praise, or condemn.‍[13] There is not (yet) an overarching study for the next period, until the early 1880s, when, in combination with a new art, a new form of art criticism was also introduced in the aforementioned De Nieuwe Gids. As a starting point for the Dutch avant-garde, this magazine and its art criticism has been researched extensively.‍[14] The criticism in it was typically modernist, concentrating on painterly values, but we can assume that art was viewed differently throughout much of the nineteenth century, and by much of the population. For the middle-class public, popular family magazines such as De Katholieke Illustratie (Catholic Illustrated, from 1867) and Eigen Haard (By the Fireside, from 1875) provided large reproductions of art works with explanatory comments that included reflections on human fate, the beauty of nature as created by God, or moralizing admonitions. If there was an emerging visual culture, it was this one. As a matter of course, the modern artists of De Nieuwe Gids wanted to break with that practice. Marcellus Emants (1848–1923), himself a writer of ominous, naturalist novels, derided the “bourgeois” way of viewing art as follows:

There was a time—and for many it still continues—when the public judged a picture by the story that was found or placed in it. The picture of a peasant family, with clasped hands around a platter full of steaming potatoes, was then a masterpiece, even though the rising steam resembled a bundle of gray curls and the rurals looked as if they not only washed themselves with soap five times a day, but also varnished their face and hands. In the dish of potatoes one saw a poetry of poverty that made their own partridge taste twice as good in the evening; the shining stoutness of the peasant woman proved that the folks, despite the poor diet of potatoes and the daily contact with pigs, did not have such an evil life and then, the folded hands . . . these exactly put the crown on the work. From this everyone could learn that one can be very content with little, that a potato, as good as a partridge, is a gift of God, and that he who has a better life than these simple farmers must be very careful if dissatisfaction with the course of things will catch him once.‍[15]

This mentality had to be discarded, according to Emants: “No longer ask ‘what can I think about that painting, what does the painter have hineingeheimniszt,’ but: ‘how did he see nature, what did he want to express with hues and lines and to what extent did he succeed in this?’”‍[16]

The focus on formal and expressive qualities introduced here is, roughly, what we find in Reynaerts’s book: certainly of the nineteenth-century, but in general not that of the standard nineteenth-century public. But it must be said that Reynaerts’s descriptions are very good and accurate. Take, for example, her comparison of The Haystack by Gerard Bilders (1838–65) from around 1860 and A Barn on the Bank of a Stream in Gelderland by Wouter van Troostwijk (1782–1810), painted some fifty years earlier. The paintings correspond in theme and composition. Van Troostwijk’s picture was new in its time, because it did not refer to the tradition of picturesque landscapes from the seventeenth century. It looked natural, straightforward, and refreshing: “The landscape is limited to predominantly green and brown hues against a blue sky. The blue sky is echoed in the white sheets and the shirtsleeves of the boy which adds a fresh accent. Here [. . .] we see natural or Dutch light” (80). What did Bilders do differently?: “whereas Troostwijk constructs his representation of depth using strong color contrasts—the crisp blue sky, the dark green of the tree, and bright green of the grass with the white sheets as an extra accent, Bilders confines himself to quiet transitions from light to dark in order to create space. The eye of the viewer is drawn to the hay barn via patches of meadow illuminated by the sun” (194). Bilders himself referred to the impact of Barbizon’s modern French painting on his own work. And so the reader is guided through the successive episodes of the nineteenth century, under the motto of “painting as mirror of reality.” This does not mean the banal or raw reality of life, as propagated in the Parisian Realism of the 1850s: the Dutch artists “held up a mirror to their audience that sometimes exactly reproduced that reality, but more frequently embellished or transformed it into an impression portrayal of a mood” (13).

The first chapter, “Art as Spectacle (c.1795­­­­–1830),” begins in the era of French rule, which connected the Dutch art world to the international maelstrom. In addition to the aforementioned Exhibition of Living Masters, modeled on the Paris Salons and in which the government made purchases, stipends were set up for artists to study in Rome or Paris. After the end of the French period and the transformation of the Netherlands into a kingdom (1813), official art institutions developed further. These included a series of craft courses, drawing academies, and, above all these, an art academy. In painting, this had various results, including colorful, highly detailed flower and fruit still lifes, brightly lit landscapes, classical pieces in the manner of the School of David, contemporary history pieces depicting recent battles, and intimate views of the Dutch interiors and family life. Still lifes, landscapes, and interiors had long been part of the Dutch painting tradition, and many of the works drew on seventeenth-century precedents. Dealing with the illustrious seventeenth-century painting tradition became a problem: should it be imitated in response to “foreign” classicism, or opposed with more contemporary approaches to color and light? There was also the notion of “aemulatio”: to surpass one’s predecessors. It was a complex issue that persisted throughout the nineteenth century, not just in art but in literature and historiography as well. The image of the seventeenth century (“our Golden Age”) played an important role as nationalism increased over the course of the century.‍[17]

Another problem, pertinent especially to art history, was the relationship between Northern and Southern Dutch art. The Southern Netherlands had been part of the Habsburg Empire until the French invasion of 1894. The Congress of Vienna combined the Northern and Southern Netherlands into one Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1814-15. After an uprising in 1830, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was split up again, resulting in present-day Belgium, but until then the Dutch art world was a single entity. Or was it? Reynaerts has included Belgian painting in her chapter on the period from 1795 to 1830 and later on refers to it occasionally, but the splitting of the two countries also sent their artistic traditions in different directions. The shift was apparent in 2005, when two exhibitions were held in quick succession: Romanticism in Belgium in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels, and Masters of Romanticism in the Rotterdam Kunsthal.‍[18] The first showed more intense emotion, the second more nostalgia and intimacy. The difference fueled the discussion about how broadly the concept of Romanticism could be drawn, and whether there was such a thing as Dutch Romanticism. In accordance with her intention not to make a strict distinction between styles and movements, this is not an issue with Reynaerts: she discusses painting from the period 1830–65 in a single chapter entitled “The Dutch Idyll.” Lovely domestic and foreign landscapes with jagged bushes and shining water surfaces, seascapes with imposing, cloudy skies, dreamy views of old towns and, to a lesser extent, historical genre scenes formed the main part of the production in the mid-nineteenth century. At the same time, this was a period in which a great deal of beautiful, older architecture disappeared due to the demolition of historic buildings, the filling up of canals, and the removal of city walls. Landscapes were traversed by straight canals and the first railways, and rivers were tamed with dams and dikes.‍[19] The popularity of painting that ignored this process of modernization was all the greater in the increasingly numerous and large exhibitions and burgeoning art market.

A new era, with new ideas about art, dawns in the next chapter, “The National Landscape, c. 1865–1885.” Even more than in previous periods, landscape became the main source of inspiration; as a less elevated genre, it also offered the freedom to experiment with new techniques and perspectives. From the 1860s on, the influence of French landscape painting, in particular the Barbizon School, was felt. The plain, flat Dutch landscape, in atmospheric green-gray tones and with pale yellow skies, took on a new form in painting, referred to, beginning in 1875, as The Hague School. These landscapes, with their swampy meadows, sandy dunes, cloudy skies, and scenes from the gray farming and fishing life, were regarded at home and abroad as typically Dutch and eagerly bought. Reynaerts also pays attention to art that falls outside this framework: artists from abroad who were equally attracted to Dutch landscapes and old towns, and on the other hand Dutch artists who sought refuge abroad and worked in un-Dutch manners, such as Alexander Wüst (1837–76), who painted wild American landscapes, Orientalists like Willem de Famars Testas (1834–96), and, most famously, Lourens Alma Tadema (1836–1912), who gained a star position within the Aesthetic Movement. In the Netherlands, Tadema’s reputation was unfavorable for decades and his reappraisal only started with an exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum in 1996.‍[20] Nevertheless, Reynaerts does not seem quite to have escaped the long-standing dominant appreciation for The Hague School, as is evident in her appreciative descriptions of its modern use of light and color and virtuoso brushwork. The Hague School’s success in the art market was part of an economic boom from around 1870, an era known as the Second Golden Age. The favorable economic tide was part and parcel of phenomena with which artists were not particularly concerned: increasing industrialization, expanding cities, further expansion of the road and rail network, steamships in modernized ports. Reynaerts pays ample attention to the idealized, nationalist image of Holland that dominated painting, exploring its receptions and its escapist tendencies.

In this respect, however, Mirror of Reality does not follow the radical approach of Eisenman’s Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History, which, according to the bibliography at the back of the book, was consulted.‍[21] The transitions between the successive episodes that divide Mirror of Reality do not take on the character of socio-historical “fault zones” to which artists responded. Where intentions of the artists are discussed, this does not take on the character of ideology-critical analysis, and descriptions of works seldom turn towards deconstructivist readings. Interesting exceptions concern depictions by Western-trained artists of landscapes or events in the colony of the Dutch East Indies. For example, in 1828, the Southern Netherlandish artist Antoine Payen (1892–53) painted The Great Postal Route near Rejapolo (1826), a colonial project in which indigenous workers were forced to work under murderous conditions; thousands of them lost their lives. Payen presented the road as a triumphant route through great natural beauty. He also drew and painted colorful, innocent indigenous village scenes and festivals, as if not at the same time Dutch government was bringing the area under its control with a series of bloody wars (74, 77).

A second example is a painting by Raden Sarief Bastaman Saleh (1811–80), son of a Javanese nobleman, who was trained in Western European oil painting in the Netherlands. Styling himself as a sort of painting prince from the East, he caused a furor at various European royal courts—and certainly at the Dutch one. Yet Reynaerts reads his painting The Arrest of Diepo Negoro (1857) as a position on the side of the Indonesian people; she compares it to the depiction of the same event, The Arrest of Diepo Negoro by Lieutenant-General Baron De Kock (ca. 1830–35) by the Dutch painter Nicolaas Pieneman (1809–60). Diepo Negoro (or Diponegoro), a rebellious Javanese prince who incited the native population against the colonial Dutch rulers, was treacherously captured during negotiations in 1830. Reynaerts reads in the differences in position of the protagonists involved in relation to each other, in the directions of their gazes, and the differences in Diepo Negoro’s body posture, the contrast in meaning: resigned submission to the Dutch government in Pieneman’s picture versus indignation and pride in Raden Saleh’s (126–29).

There are not many such examples. However, the difference in approach between Eisenman et al. and Reynaerts cannot be attributed solely to the divergence in method and choice of artworks. The impression that relatively few shocking events took place in the Netherlands that forced the artist to take a position was (and often still is) general. The nineteenth-century Dutch themselves preferred to forget the violent sides of their colonial involvement, and while the country had remained free from wars on its own soil after the French period, the image was cherished that the nineteenth-century Dutchman led a calm existence. For contemporary critics that was a sluggish existence. The art critic Etha Fles (1857–1948), for example, used that idea in a review of the 1900 World’s Fair as an explanation for why Dutch painting of that time had such a calm character, compared to that of other countries:

The quiet satisfaction with which our painters study their immediate surroundings, we find most amiable, and we would almost be inclined to conclude that nothing can beat Holland and the Dutch school; but when we have gone through all the halls later [. . .] then we will be somewhat more humble, for it may be a fact that there is one side of life that we understand, on the other hand a whole world of feeling and thinking is a closed book for us. Is there something vibrating in our art of the storms that have gone through all of our society? [. . .] While there the passionate artist lives in a world of emotion and, reflecting what is happening around him, gives an art, trembling with passion and wrath [. . .] here we live like the villager, who may have a longer life because he suffers less, but who also does not know of so much love and hate, which the highest emotion arises in us.‍[22]

In the last chapter, “Mirror of the Soul, c. 1885-1908,” the development of art itself takes a turn away from the title of the book, Mirror of Reality. A change in mentality, which is usually attributed to fears of the modernization process, the fragmentation of society, and the threat of socialist and anarchist violence—in short to a feeling of cultural crisis—was taking place in the Netherlands. Dutch art changed rapidly: atmospheric landscapes with smooth brushstrokes increasingly sought to capture the “stemming” (mood), and that mood soon took on an increasingly introverted and individualistic character. Art focused on the representation of the artist’s emotions and finally of his or her fantasy, dreams, pessimism, or feelings of abandonment. In De Nieuwe Gids the turnaround is easy to follow: after initial admiration for The Hague School, critics start to rebel against its “thoughtless” representation of reality, against its routine and commodification.

However, scholars still debate the extent to which the Netherlands really suffered from a feeling of fin de siècle crisis, particularly because of the optimistic mentality that prevailed around 1900 as a result of an economic boom. In any case, the idea of ​​a cultural crisis hardly plays a role for Reynaerts. The variations in Symbolism, Neo-Impressionism, and offshoots of Impressionism here are mainly variations in renewal; one would have liked to see the varieties in political engagement and artistic withdrawal better highlighted. For example, the anti-modernist element of Symbolism is not explicitly mentioned.

A special place is reserved for the figure of van Gogh, who, in imitation of Marius, is called “a meteor,” an icon that transcends his time and (native) country (294). He is, however, incorporated into Dutch art life as much as possible, with a great deal of attention for the rural themes in his Dutch period, and for the rapid reception and propagation of his work by Dutch avant-garde artists.

At the end of the book, social engagement is finally discussed, partly by the introduction of a new element: architecture-bound painting. Indeed, the restored wall paintings in the Rijksmuseum are discussed. But the very last two paragraphs are devoted to a work that marked the end of the nineteenth century as well as the beginning of the twentieth: Berlage’s Stock Exchange Building, begun in 1898 and completed in 1903. Architectural historians tend to see this building as the starting point of modernist architecture in the Netherlands. But there is much reason to consider it, like Reynaerts does, as a culmination point of “Gemeenschapskunst” (community art). Painters, glaziers and sculptors such as Jan Toorop (1858–1928), Richard Roland Holst (1868–1938), Antoon Derkinderen (1859–1925) and Lambertus Zijl (1866–1947) collaborated here in dialogue with the architect. Social ideals rooted in the nineteenth century came together here.


[1] Congress brochure Het Nederlands museum van de 19e eeuw. Utopie of werkelijkheid? (Amsterdam: Kunsthistorisch Instituut Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1989).

[2] Annemieke Hoogenboom, “De stand des kunstenaars.” De positie van kunstschilders in Nederland in de eerste helft van de negentiende eeuw (Leiden: Primavera Pers, 1993); Chris Stolwijk, Uit de schilderswereld: Nederlandse kunstschilders in de tweede helft van de negentiende eeuw (Leiden: Primavera Pers, 1998). See also Kunst en kunstenaar in de negentiende eeuw, special issue of De Negentiende Eeuw 14, no. 1 (1990).

[3] Hanna Klarenbeek, Penseelprinsessen & broodschilderessen: Vrouwen in de beeldende kunst, 1808–1913 (Bussum: Toth, 2012).

[4] Jenny Reynaerts, “Het karakter onzer Hollandsche School.” De Koninklijke Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten te Amsterdam, 1817–1870 (Leiden: Primavera Pers, 2001).

[5] Roel Pots, Cultuur, koningen en democraten. Overheid & Cultuur in Nederland (Nijmegen: SUN, 2000).

[6] G.H. Marius, De Hollandsche schilderkunst in de 19de eeuw (’s Gravenhage: Nijhoff, 1903; 2nd and revised ed. ’s Gravenhage: Nijhoff, 1920). English editions: G. H. Marius, Dutch painting in the 19th century, trans. Alexander Teixiera de Mattos (London: De La More Press, 1908); G.H. Marius, Dutch painters of the 19th century, ed. Geraldine Norman (London: Antique Collector’s Club, 1973).

[7] Marius, De Hollandsche schilderkunst, 2nd ed. 1920, 273–78 (quotations: 278).

[8] J. Knoef, Een eeuw Nederlandse schilderkunst (Amsterdam: Querido, 1948).

[9] Marjan van Heteren, Guido Jansen, Ronald de Leeuw, et al., Poëzie der werkelijkheid. Nederlandse schilders van de negentiende eeuw (English edition: The Poetry of Reality. Dutch painters of the nineteenth century) (Amsterdam/Zwolle: Rijksmuseum/Waanders, 2000).

[10] According to Klarenbeek, Penseelprinsessen, 8, based on the RKD database https://rkddb.rkd.nl/.

[11] See https://rkd.nl/en/explore/library/.

[12] L.F. van Loo, Arm in Nederland 1815–1990 (Meppel/Amsterdam: Boom, 1992), 21–60.

[13] Annemiek Ouwerkerk, Tussen kunst en publiek. Een beeld van de kunstkritiek in Nederland in de eerste helft van de negentien­de eeuw (Leiden: Primavera Pers, 2003).

[14] See Carel Blotkamp, “Art Criticism in De Nieuwe Gids,” Simiolus 5, no. 1–2 (1971): 116–36, and vol. 3 of the series Kunstkritiek in Nederland, ed. by Peter de Ruiter and Jonneke Jobse (Rotterdam: Nai010 uitgevers, 2014–17), which continues the line from the 1880s to the present day [Lieske Tibbe, Verstrengeling van traditie en vernieuwing. Kunstkritiek in Nederland tijdens het fin de siècle 1885–1905 (2014)].

[15] Marcellus Emants, “Pro Domo,” De Gids 53, no. 2 (1889), 533–34.

[16] Ibid.

[17] See: Louis van Tilborgh and Guido Jansen, ed., Op zoek naar de Gouden Eeuw. Nederlandse schilderkunst 1800–1850 (Zwolle: Waanders, 1981); Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld, “De negentiende eeuw en de zeventiende-eeuwse schilderkunst als een vraagstuk van Ouden en Modernen,” De Negentiende Eeuw 9 (1985), 145–70 (special issue Het beeld van de zeventiende in de negentiende eeuw); Annemieke Hoogenboom, “‘Zo de ouden zongen piepen de jongen’ of ‘De Vadermoorders’: Over David Bles en Jan Steen”, in Studiecollectie. Interpretatie van kunst uit de negentiende en twintigste eeuw. Dertien opstellen voor Evert van Uitert, eds. Saskia de Bodt, Jenny Reynaerts, and Jan de Vries, (Amsterdam: Vossiuspers, 2001), 43–50.

[18] Dominique Marechal, et al., De romantiek in België: tussen werkelijkheid, herinnering en verlangen (Tielt: Lannoo, 2005); Ronald de Leeuw, Jenny Reynaerts and Benno Tempel, ed., Meesters van de Romantiek: Nederlandse kunstenaars 1800–1850 (Zwolle: Waanders, 2005).

[19] Auke van der Woud, Een nieuwe wereld. Het ontstaan van het moderne Nederland (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2006).

[20] Elizabeth Prettejohn and Edwin Becker, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Zwolle: Waanders, 1996).

[21] Stephen F. Eisenman, et al, Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History (New York: Thames & Hudson, 1994).

[22] Etha Fles, “Naar aanleiding van de Parijsche tentoonstelling,” De Kroniek 6 (1900): 220–22.