From Barbizon to Bergen
A varied selection of paintings from the museum’s own collection, ranging from 19th-century landscapes by the painters of Barbizon, The Hague and Laren, to the first Dutch expressionists who worked in Bergen from 1914 onwards are on display in the garden galleries.
Over the course of the 19th century many artists fled urban industrialisation and went to live in rural areas, in search of unspoilt landscapes. The village of Barbizon in France was one of the first places where landscape painters settled and went out to work in the natural environment, turning their backs on the rules taught at the art academies. The invention of the paint tube in 1840 made it much easier to paint en plein air, and Dutch artists also began working outdoors.
The common factor in the work of the outdoor painters of the Barbizon School, The Hague School and the artists who worked in Laren, whose work is on display in this first gallery, was their desire to achieve a realistic depiction of the real world. They rejected the idealised and romanticised art that was prevalent at the time. Amsterdam impressionists Breitner and Witsen were also innovative in their own way, widening their choice of subjects to include the modern metropolitan life of Amsterdam.