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George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923), Span of white workhorses on a building site on the outskirts of Amsterdam

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George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)

Span of white workhorses on a building site on the outskirts of Amsterdam

signed 'G.H Breitner' (lower right)

watercolour on paper, 63x97,5 cm

Exhibited:-Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, ‘G.H. Breitner’, 1901, no. 53 or 55.-Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, ‘Tentoonstelling van aquarellen, zestig-jarig bestaan der Vereeniging tot het vormen van eene openbare verzameling van hedendaagsche kunst’, 24 November-16 December 1934, no. 35.-Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, ‘Breitner en Amsterdam’, October-November 1947, no. 186.-Delft, Museum het Prinsenhof, ‘De aquarel 1800-1950', 25 March-5 May 1952, no. 230, ill. no. 19, as: ‘Nieuwbouw’.Literature:-Dr A. van Schendel, 'Breitner', Palet-serie, Amsterdam, 1939-1948, ill. p. 12 (on loan Th. Stokvis).-Adriaan Venema, ‘G.H. Breitner’, Bussum 1981, ill. p. 264.Provenance:-Collection Mr T.G. Dentz van Schaick, Amsterdam; His auction, Frederik Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 13 November 1934, lot. 24.-Collection Mr G.C. Vattier Kraane, Aerdenhout, 1947; His auction, Mensing, Amsterdam, 22 March 1955, lot. 73.-Collection W. Hoos, on loan at Gemeentemuseum The Hague.-Auction, Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 21 October 1974, lot 38 (sold for: 16,000 Dfl.).-With Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen, The Hague, Zomertentoonstelling 15-30 August 1975, ill. no. 12, where acquired by the family of the present owner.

Executed circa 1896-1897. A newly thriving city finding its legs: this is the Amsterdam George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923) found when he moved from The Hague to Amsterdam in 1886. Amsterdam had known periods of success before but had stagnated at the beginning of the 19th century. While Amsterdam had been an international centre for trade, it had lost this position when it became nearly unreachable due to blockades during Napoleon’s Continental System. Added to this, Amsterdam was no longer the seat of power. Instead, most political, judicial, ministerial, and royal power was centred around The Hague.However, better days were ahead for Amsterdam. The Industrialisation and new wealth from the colonies brought trade, money, and people to Amsterdam. Since the population increased rapidly, more housing and infrastructure were desperately needed, and construction sites appeared all over Amsterdam. These building sites became an irresistible subject for Breitner.This auction presents a large watercolour on paper by George Hendrik Breitner, showing white workhorses at a building site in Amsterdam. When depicting building sites, Breitner tended to focus on the construction itself or the people and animals present, while his contemporaries emphasised on the landscape. This difference is highlighted in the present lot, where Breitner positioned two white workhorses front and centre. Horses were a common subject for Breitner, who portrayed many of these animals in military settings. The horses are clearly the stars of the show: with quick, but sure brushstrokes, Breitner added details to them like the shadow of the ribs and the shine on the hooves, while other parts of the drawing are hazier. In the background, land is cleared for pile driving and construction can start: this plot of land would soon become home to many people, especially lower-class workers. It is only fitting that before these workers would move into the emerging buildings, George Hendrik Breitner would be present: the true ‘people’s painter’, would paint the construction site before he would move on to portraying the labourers, factory girls, and waspitten who would find shelter there.

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28 May 2024
Netherlands, Hague
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George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)

Span of white workhorses on a building site on the outskirts of Amsterdam

signed 'G.H Breitner' (lower right)

watercolour on paper, 63x97,5 cm

Exhibited:-Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, ‘G.H. Breitner’, 1901, no. 53 or 55.-Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, ‘Tentoonstelling van aquarellen, zestig-jarig bestaan der Vereeniging tot het vormen van eene openbare verzameling van hedendaagsche kunst’, 24 November-16 December 1934, no. 35.-Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, ‘Breitner en Amsterdam’, October-November 1947, no. 186.-Delft, Museum het Prinsenhof, ‘De aquarel 1800-1950', 25 March-5 May 1952, no. 230, ill. no. 19, as: ‘Nieuwbouw’.Literature:-Dr A. van Schendel, 'Breitner', Palet-serie, Amsterdam, 1939-1948, ill. p. 12 (on loan Th. Stokvis).-Adriaan Venema, ‘G.H. Breitner’, Bussum 1981, ill. p. 264.Provenance:-Collection Mr T.G. Dentz van Schaick, Amsterdam; His auction, Frederik Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 13 November 1934, lot. 24.-Collection Mr G.C. Vattier Kraane, Aerdenhout, 1947; His auction, Mensing, Amsterdam, 22 March 1955, lot. 73.-Collection W. Hoos, on loan at Gemeentemuseum The Hague.-Auction, Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 21 October 1974, lot 38 (sold for: 16,000 Dfl.).-With Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen, The Hague, Zomertentoonstelling 15-30 August 1975, ill. no. 12, where acquired by the family of the present owner.

Executed circa 1896-1897. A newly thriving city finding its legs: this is the Amsterdam George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923) found when he moved from The Hague to Amsterdam in 1886. Amsterdam had known periods of success before but had stagnated at the beginning of the 19th century. While Amsterdam had been an international centre for trade, it had lost this position when it became nearly unreachable due to blockades during Napoleon’s Continental System. Added to this, Amsterdam was no longer the seat of power. Instead, most political, judicial, ministerial, and royal power was centred around The Hague.However, better days were ahead for Amsterdam. The Industrialisation and new wealth from the colonies brought trade, money, and people to Amsterdam. Since the population increased rapidly, more housing and infrastructure were desperately needed, and construction sites appeared all over Amsterdam. These building sites became an irresistible subject for Breitner.This auction presents a large watercolour on paper by George Hendrik Breitner, showing white workhorses at a building site in Amsterdam. When depicting building sites, Breitner tended to focus on the construction itself or the people and animals present, while his contemporaries emphasised on the landscape. This difference is highlighted in the present lot, where Breitner positioned two white workhorses front and centre. Horses were a common subject for Breitner, who portrayed many of these animals in military settings. The horses are clearly the stars of the show: with quick, but sure brushstrokes, Breitner added details to them like the shadow of the ribs and the shine on the hooves, while other parts of the drawing are hazier. In the background, land is cleared for pile driving and construction can start: this plot of land would soon become home to many people, especially lower-class workers. It is only fitting that before these workers would move into the emerging buildings, George Hendrik Breitner would be present: the true ‘people’s painter’, would paint the construction site before he would move on to portraying the labourers, factory girls, and waspitten who would find shelter there.

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Time, Location
28 May 2024
Netherlands, Hague
Auction House
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