Current exhibitions at Singer Laren
4 September 2018 - 2 December 2018
‘The Last Impressionists’ focuses on the artists who got together in 1900 to form the successful Société Nouvelle de Peintres et de Sculpteurs. The emphasis is on the group of painters who founded the society. From their first exhibition in 1900, they were renowned for the unity of their work. Even though the individual members each had their own style, Société Nouvelle exhibitions as a whole provided a harmonious counterbalance to the cacophony of the Salons.
The painters of the Société Nouvelle shared a passionate and intimate bond with nature, and with all living things. They respected the reality visible all around them and depicted it in a faithful, aesthetic and psychologically engaged manner.
The Société Nouvelle’s success story is also the story of the end of an era in a rapidly changing world, where innovation was the considered the most important thing. Though the ‘last’ Impressionists were still highly successful after the First World War, they were gradually replaced by the emerging avant-garde. After the Second World War they fell into obscurity. For the first time in 70 year, this exhibition shines the spotlight on these last Impressionists as a group.
It is highly appropriate that they should be shown at Singer Laren, as their work is very much in line with the tastes of Anna and William Singer, after whom the museum is named. They collected work by several of the artists on display here. You will encounter these works from the original Singer collection as you pass through the exhibition.
Thanks to guest curator Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, art historian and great-grandson of Henri Le Sidaner. He has published a new reference work on the last Impressionists based on many years of research. It is available in the Singer shop.
En plein air. 100 years of outdoor painting
4 September 2018 - 2 December 2018
This selection of paintings from the Singer Laren collection showcases a century of art created en plein air. From the mid-19th century onwards, artists would work outdoors, painting the landscape on location.
The first French painters settled in the tiny village of Barbizon around 1830. Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet, Théodore Rousseau, Charles François Daubigny and others wanted to abandon the idealised depiction of nature dictated by the academic tradition by literally painting ‘from nature’. In imitation of the painters of the Barbizon School, Dutch painters also started to work outdoors, in places like Oosterbeek, The Hague, Katwijk and Laren.
These landscapes became popular with collectors the world over from about 1880 onwards. American painter William Singer saw works like this in his hometown of Pittsburgh and came to Laren to paint from nature himself. William and Anna Singer also bought landscapes by French and Dutch painters for their collection.
The success of the painters of the Hague School and their successors was exploited by numerous painters until well into the 20th century. At the same time, younger generations of painters tried to carve out their own niche. Some chose a restrained, contemplative approach, while others adopted a colourful and exuberant, emotional expressionist style.
Buy your tickets for the exhibition here.
English handouts are available.
Designed by Piet Oudolf
On Sunday 3 June, the garden and landscape architect Piet Oudolf (1944) has received the 2018 Singer Award. This oeuvre prize is awarded by the Singer Laren Friends Foundation (Dutch: Stichting Vrienden van Singer Laren) every two years to a Dutch artist. The award ceremony took place in the public Sculpture Garden designed by Oudolf at Singer Laren, which was officially opened that same day.
Biennial award for Dutch artists
The Singer Award is a biennial oeuvre prize for contemporary Dutch artists. The prize consists of an exhibition in Singer Laren and the purchase of an artwork for the museum’s collection. The Singer Award was awarded for the first time in 1968. Previous winners include M.C. Escher, Charlotte van Pallandt, Constant Nieuwenhuys, Fioen Blaisse, Gerald van der Knaap, Dorothé van Driel, Maria Roosen and Caspar Berger. The Singer Award aims to foster the development of the contemporary Dutch visual arts in line with the philosophy of the art collectors Anna and William Singer, who founded Singer Laren.
A painter who uses the earth as his canvas
Piet Oudolf is renowned around the world as one of the leading garden and landscape designers. He is one of the principal exponents of the Dutch Wave, a movement in Dutch gardening culture that is distinguished by its use of perennials and its play with the seasons. When choosing his plants, Oudolf focuses on the plant’s life cycle, structure and character.
“The Singer Laren Friends Foundation wholeheartedly awarded Piet Oudolf the 2018 Singer Award. We see Piet Oudolf as an artist, a painter who uses the earth as a canvas and colours his compositions with flowering perennials, shrubs and trees. The plants are his palette. In Oudolf’s gardens, the annual cycle of the plant plays a key role; this allows the picture created by his beautiful combinations of plants to change throughout the year.” These are the words of the art historian Harriet Stoop-de Meester, guest curator of the exhibition Piet Oudolf, 2018 Singer Award and a member of the board of the Singer Laren Friends Foundation.
The sculpture garden is accessible free of charge.