The “Dutch in Paris 1789-1914” exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam reveals the Paris of old in the perception of eight Dutch artists. They went to Paris during that time, painted and shared what they learned in the city to fellow Dutchmen and to other French painters. Many of the dignitaries in the exhibit are familiar to us including Vincent van Gogh himself, Kees van Dongen, and so on. Other dignitaries include Hendrik Scheffer and Gerard van Spaendonck, who will be known to pursuers of classic Dutch art and the scholars.
Most historical works in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are on loans from France and the US. Many of these works are being displayed in the Dutch capital for the first time ever. The works featuring on the ground floor are by John Jongkind, which would definitely excite you when on a private Van Gogh Museum tour. His small cityscape portraits of Paris reveals the French landscape artists, especially Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. In fact, even Corot’s works that influenced Jongkind also feature in the “Dutch in Paris” exhibit.
Gerard van Spaendonck was among the founders of Institut de France, and for 38 years, he had a workshop in Jardin des Plantes wherein he trained and inspired hundreds of artists including Jan Frans van Dael to name one. After a stroll through the ground floor, scale up the staircases to upstairs, and you then reach the highlight works including “View from Theo’s Apartment” from Vincent Van Gogh.
The ancient painting is a view portrayed from his younger sibling Theo Van Gogh’s window on Rue Lepic in Paris of 1887. The painters upstairs in Van Gogh Museum shows Paris in canvas; the ancient streets, the cafes, and the dance halls in the city must have inspired the Dutch artists.
Another renowned artist, Piet Mondrian moved to the City of Lights in 1912 to portray the Cubism era on canvas and was an inspiration for younger Dutch artists including Jacoba van Heemskerck to name one. When in the museum, you can see the 1913 work by Mondrian titled “Composition No. XV” in the “Dutch in Paris” exhibit.
Some works exhibited in the museum are photograph-like Parisian landscapes including the Moulin Rouge and the Eiffel Tower in construction. The curators of the exhibit have attempted to immerse those on a private Van Gogh Museum tour to medieval Paris – some paintings in all its glory, others the metro in the making.