Our Art / George Hendrik Breitner

George Hendrik Breitner

George Hendrik Breitner

Noted especially for his realistic paintings of modern life, Breitner (1857–1923) was an important figure of the Impressionist movement in Amsterdam. While Breitner visited Paris, the study of Japanese art and artistic talent in art and fashion, Japonism, was flourishing. Inspired by Japanese prints, Breitner made thirteen of his best known paintings of a girl in a kimono, which were portraits of a local seamstress. He saw himself as “le peintre du peuple,” the people's painter, and he preferred working-class models: labourers, servant girls and people from lower-class neighbourhoods.

Breitner was also known for his street scenes and harbour views often painted “en plein air,” French for outdoors “in open air,” and became interested in photography as a means of documenting street life and atmospheric effects — rainy weather in particular — as reference materials for his paintings.