Lot 304
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Spring Auction: European Fine Art 2019
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George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)

An evening on the Dam, Amsterdam

signed 'G.H. Breitner' (lower right)

oil on canvas, 60x99 cm

Exhibited:
-The Hague, Gemeente Museum voor Moderne Kunst 's-Gravenhage, 'Breitner', 10 November-9 December 1928, cat. no. 80.
-Arnhem, Gemeente Museum, 1956 (on loan). -Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum, 'G.H. Breitner, Plein bij avond', 1983.

Provenance:
-Collection Mr. L. de Vries.
-With Kunsthandel E.J. van Wisselingh, Amsterdam, inv. no. 5825, 3053x, by 1936.
-Collection H.E. ten Cate, Almelo, by 1955.
-Auction, Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 27 June 1973, lot 424.

At the end of the nineteenth century, when this lot was painted, George Hendrik Breitner was at the height of his career. Breitner’s work depicted the dynamic changes in Amsterdam like no other artist. For his inimitable depictions of the city and his view on modern times, Breitner won various awards and medals, and in 1895, when he was only 37 years old, he was already knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

The city of Amsterdam was probably Breitner’s biggest muse. He lived in the Dutch capital, whose streets, canals, and inhabitants were his main source of inspiration. The Dam, as the heart of Amsterdam, plays an important role in Breitner’s oeuvre. He depicted the crowds and horses on the square several times and preferred the bustling ambience at night. This setting allowed him to entice the spectator by using ‘chiaroscuro’, contrasting the dark environment with the new electrical lights of the shops on Kalverstraat. The subtle touches of blue on the right and the red shirts of the children add some colour to the monochrome palette. The vivid strokes of his brush expertly capture the hustling and bustling atmosphere on Dam Square at the turn of the twentieth century. The tall figures on the left directly look at the spectator; along with the smaller couple on the right and the horses in the background, they create a strong feeling of depth and perspective and help in realising a balanced composition.

Breitner was a master in defining and creating a view of modern city life. His style is characterised by bold and vivid brushstrokes, which create a striking impression of the dynamics of the big city. This specific subject was very popular, and Breitner made several depictions of the Dam by night. Most known examples are in museum collections, such as ‘De Dam bij avond’ (‘Dam Square at Night’, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, inv. no. A 78) and ‘Avond op de Dam in Amsterdam’ (‘Night on Dam Square in Amsterdam’, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, inv. no. 2200).

€ 25.000,00
€ 35.000,00

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