Colour unleashed; Modern art in the Low Countries 1885-1914. Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Claude Monet, 1867

Claude Monet, 1867

Because of renovations in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, part of its collection is travelling around. That was a good opportunity for the Gemeentemuseum to combine some of these works with a few other loans and with paintings of its own collection of the period 1885-1914.

Claude Monet, 1862

Claude Monet, 1867

The exhibition Colour Unleashed aims to show the influence of French impressionist and postimpressionist painting on Belgian and Dutch painters in the way of using bright colours. It results in a very colourful show indeed, starting with some founding fathers of modernism like Monet,

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

Vincent van Gogh, 1890

Vincent van Gogh, 1890

artistic patriarchs like Cézanne and Van Gogh and their artistic sons like

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Kees van Dongen, 1903

Kees van Dongen, 1903

Kees van Dongen, 1903

Kees van Dongen, 1903

Matisse and Van Dongen (clearly this is one of the less colourful paintings).

Piet Mondrian, 1909

Piet Mondrian, 1909

A restoration project has been linked to the exhibition and so this Mondrian has been cleaned and looks very fresh now.

James Ensor, 1882

James Ensor, 1882

This both intimate and monumental scene by the young James Ensor is present as well, as is

Théo van Rysselberghe, 1891

Théo van Rysselberghe, 1891

Théo van Rysselberghe, 1891

Théo van Rysselberghe, 1891

one of my favourites, this portrait by Van Rysselberghe.

James Ensor, 1890

James Ensor, 1890

James Ensor, 1890

James Ensor, 1890

James Ensor, 1890

James Ensor, 1890

Another great favourite from Antwerp is of course this Ensor, which is exhibited

Willem Paerels, 1909

Willem Paerels, 1909

Willem Paerels, 1909

Willem Paerels, 1909

Willem Paerels, 1909

Willem Paerels, 1909

in the same room as this much lesser known but very interesting work by Paerels.

Jan Sluijters, 1907

Jan Sluijters, 1907

Jan Sluijters, 1907

Jan Sluijters, 1907

Jan Sluijters, 1907

Jan Sluijters, 1907

This amazingly brilliant Sluijters has been cleaned and restored too.

Jacoba van Heemskerck, 1908/10

Jacoba van Heemskerck, 1908/10

Jacoba van Heemskerck, 1908/10

Jacoba van Heemskerck, 1908/10

Van Heemskerck is one of the very few female artists in the exhibition.

Piet Mondrian, 1907

Piet Mondrian, 1907

Of course the Gemeentemuseum’s own Red Cloud by Mondrian can’t be absent.

Rik Wouters, 1913

Rik Wouters, 1913

Rik Wouters, 1912

Rik Wouters, 1912

Rik Wouters, 1912

Rik Wouters, 1912

Rik Wouters

Rik Wouters

Great and nice surprise is that one room is completely dedicated to one of the greatest Flemish painters of the period: Rik Wouters.

Rik Wouters, 1915

Rik Wouters, 1915

There are two more paintings by Wouters in the next room, one of them is this self portrait.

Else Berg, 1911/12

Else Berg, 1911/12

But the surprises may also be small like this landscape by Berg.

Leo Gestel, 1914

Leo Gestel, 1914

There are more paintings by Gestel on show, this is one of them.

Jan Sluijters, 1913

Jan Sluijters, 1913

In the same room is this somewhat Kandinskyesque Sluijters.

Berend Zweers, 1905/10

Berend Zweers, 1905/10

To complete the story there is a mixture of paintings and other items on show in the cabinets. Like this rare autochrome original from the early history of colour photography, or

CU 34 Georges Lemmen

this letter of Georges Lemmen to Jan Toorop.

Emile Claus, 1905

Emile Claus, 1905

There are, amongst many other different items, this strangely romantic painting,

Floris Verster, 1907

Floris Verster, 1907

this late impressionist one,

Johan Thorn Prikker, 1905

Johan Thorn Prikker, 1905

this exquisite chalk drawing,

Jan Toorop, 1908

Jan Toorop, 1908

this small panel and

CU 39

this reminder of how the colourful modernist dream changed into Europe’s first horrible trauma of the new age. Let’s hope it is not a bad omen in this otherwise wonderful autumn show.

T.A.C. Colenbrander, 1923

T.A.C. Colenbrander, 1923

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Bertus Pieters

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