From the museum’s press release, 11 July 2012
The exhibition XIX Century Dutch and Belgian Painting. National Museum of Fine Arts Collection was opened on 25 May 2012, at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana. A group of paintings from the period will be shown for the first time. The event comes to complete the representation of the art of these two nations in the Museum, which permanently exhibits Flemish painting from the XVI and XVII centuries, and Dutch painting from the Golden Age.
The cooperation with the Stichting Cultuur Inventarisatie (SCI), and the International Network of Curators of Dutch and Flemish art (CODART), has allowed the museum curator to consent to bibliography, specialists and, mainly, to search the documentary files of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, to get deeper in the investigation of these paintings. Besides the Dutch institutions, the support of the Art 12 gallery and the Rubenianum Institute, both in Antwerp has been important . Thanks to them it was possible to move forwards in the research of the Belgian section of the exhibition. The embassies of both countries in Havana have been an effective bridge and played an active part in the achievement of these results.
The exhibition, composed by twenty three works, offer a testimony of the painting production from the XIX century in Holland and Belgium. Portrait, genre scenes and landscapes constitute the thematic axes of the paintings, reflecting the context in witch they were conceived through diverse ways and artistic approaches.
There are pieces by Belgian painters like Alfred Stevens, one of the greatest exponents of Realism; Joseph Barthélemy Vieillevoye, director of the Academy of Fine Arts of Liege during many years. Edmond du Schampheler, as well as Henri Cleenewerck, a Belgian painter working in Cuba during the decade of 1960’s are also in the authors list.
The Dutch section, bigger than the Belgian one, presents works by important artists like Joseph Isräels, one of the most important figures of “The Hague School”, the artistic movement at the end of the XIX century in that city, considered to be the second Dutch painting golden age. There are also paintings by Henri Mari ten Kate, Johannes Jacobus Paling, Johan Barthold Jongkind and Willen Maris, among others, related to romantic and realistic styles. There can be find also some more romantic paintings made after models by important XVII century artists like Paulus Potter and Claes Berchem.
Although we can’t find significant events of the XIX century Dutch and Belgian painting, the exhibition testify important moments of the history of both painting schools from that period in the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.