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La Escuela de La Haya, obras maestras del Rijksmuseum

The Hague School: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum Exhibition: 23 April - 21 June 2009

Rijksmuseum press release, 20 August 2008

Starting in October, part of the Rijksmuseum collection will travel to Germany and Spain as part of two separate exhibitions. On 22 October, the exhibition Der weite Blick – Landschaften der Haager Schule aus dem Rijksmuseum will open at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. In the spring of 2009, the exhibition The Hague School: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum will open to the public in Vigo and A Coruña in Galicia (Spain).

The Neue Pinakothek, which itself maintains a renowned collection of 19th century art, is working together with the Rijksmuseum for the exhibition in Munich. Well known paintings and water colours from the Hague School from the Rijksmuseum collection, including Morning Ride on the Beach by Anton Mauve (1876), The truncated windmill by Jacob Maris (1872), Pinks in the Breakers by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (c. 1890) and The sand barge by Jozef Israëls (c. 1887), will be displayed together with several paintings by artists of the Hague School from the Neue Pinakothek collection, including Jacob Maris’ Dutch landscape with a towpath (c. 1890) and a wonderfully surprising work by unknown painter Eduard van der Meer entitled Polder during a thaw (c. 1888).

The exhibition includes approximately 45 paintings and 20 water colours by Hague School artists together with approximately 30 examples of 19th century Dutch photography. These photographs not only show typical scenes of a flat landscape with windmills and extremely overcast skies, but also the major engineering works that permanently transformed the Dutch landscape from 1850 onwards, including the North Sea Canal, the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal, large railway bridges and a network of railway embankments. In contrast, Hague School artists depicted the Netherlands as atmospheric, misty and – above all – empty. The juxtaposition of the photographs, paintings and water colours raises previously unasked questions regarding the changing face of the 19th century Netherlands. This extensive exhibition offers new insight into the landscape painting and photography of the period.

The exhibition The Hague School: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum in Vigo and A Coruña will include around 60 highlights from the Rijksmuseum’s collection of paintings together with approximately 15 water colours. This selection does include some of the works to be shown in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, but a range of others will also feature. The best examples of the works created by Hague School artists will be presented. Their mindset and painting style will be brought to light using several themes. One of the main themes is the representation of the sea and the lives of fishermen, depicted, for example, by the endearing Children of the Sea by Jozef Israëls (1872) and the stately maritime pieces by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. The 19th century paintings display a fascinating parallel with Galicia’s burgeoning fishing trade.

This exhibition will be the first time that Hague School paintings from the Rijksmuseum’s collection have journeyed to Spain. Dutch painters’ interest in Spain dates back to the end of the 19th century. Accompanying the exhibition is a publication that includes a section on the trip to Spain made by Jozef Israëls (1824-1911) and his son Isaac Israëls (1865-1934) in 1898.

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