japonisme: japonism: beauty from the netherlands

30 January 2007

japonism: beauty from the netherlands

george hendrik breitner was one of the pre-eminent dutch impressionists and devotees of japonisme. friends with van gogh, and working just at the time that japanese imports hit europe, it is easy to see how he became aware of, enthralled with, this new aesthetic.








apparently there are seven paintings of girls (and women?) in kimono, but i could only fine these five. the one in black, the one adult woman, could almost be by whistler, or maybe john singer sargent, but the rest make me very curious.










while they are really not suggestive in any way, i just wonder why he chose young girls. is this all one girl, his daughter? i wonder.... most of the websites i found for him are in dutch, and i couldn't find an online translator that really was that helpful, so perhaps the answer is out there, and it was just lost to me.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Dominic Bugatto said...

These are quite lovely indeed.

The fact that the young girl is engulfed by the much larger kimono , I think lends an added sense of being 'bundled' . Therefore negating her physical form.

Unlike the top piece which eems to echo the model's form.

Just a thought.

30 January, 2007 10:24  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

so interesting dom. i see them differently now. and you know what? the more i look at it, the more i think that top one is a man! what do you think?

31 January, 2007 15:48  
Blogger Florence said...

The third one also seems to have a little doll on the pillow.

This artist had a beautiful collection of carpets too.

That first one does look a bit odd, in a man way, would need a closer look.

The pose of sleeping is quite unusal too. I've never seen a Japanese woman laying around like that have you ;)

03 February, 2007 04:14  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

It seems surprising to me that a Dutch artist could break away so freely from the constraints of his era. But indeed, that is an artist's mandate.

12 February, 2007 10:39  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

hmmm florence--the way she's positioned is odd for any culture--maybe for a sleepy child?

princess--you know, i've wondered about the dutch before but in another way--like, one of the big things this whole wave of influence did was to inspire artists to have more scenes of domesticity, and not just royalty and battle. but hasn't holland always had that?

17 February, 2007 19:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am dutch and I looked up the information. The little girl we see on every paiting is called Geesje Kwak. Here's the site http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geesje_Kwak It mainly says she was born in Zaandam and moved with her sister to Amsterdam at the age of 16 to become a hat-seller. Both sisters got in contact with Breitner who'd just recovered from an eye operation. He had just visited a exhibition of Japanese art and decided to buy some screens and several Kimono. He decided to let both sisters model for him, but soon Geesje became his most important model. He made a serie of Geesje in kimono, and the girl in the red kimono became the most famous one. In 1895 she and another sister moved to South Africa where she would come to pass 4 years later at the age of 22. So, I hope this has given anyone some information. Please take note that I'm young and my English isn't that good ^_^
Carolien

07 February, 2008 12:03  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

carolien--thank you so much! that is really interesting.

and your english is perfectly understandable!--please feel free to comment as much as you like.

lily

07 February, 2008 15:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're most welcome, if there is anything else you'd like to know about Dutch painters or have something Dutch translated just let me know ;)

Carolien

04 March, 2008 09:27  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

that is a really kind offer, carolien--i hope i get a chance to take you up on it!

lily

04 March, 2008 11:29  

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