19 February 2015
In The Mesdag Collection The Hague and Teylers Museum Haarlem from 21 February till 7 June 2015.
During the 19th century, watercolour painting was a leading art form. Famous artists, such as Mauve, Israëls and Breitner excelled in this medium.
The double exhibition Watercolours in The Mesdag Collection and Teylers Museum shows highlights of the best 19th-century Dutch masters from their own and from other collections.
Both museums have joined forces and will exhibit, from 21 February until 7 June 2015, a wide-ranging overview from the oeuvres of these well-known Dutch artists, from minutely executed watercolour paintings to atmospheric impressionist landscapes.
These fragile works are seldom on display and the majority of visitors will never have seen them before.
This special double exhibition offers a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the watercolours from the depots of both museums where they often remain in storage because of their fragile nature.
Both exhibitions show how watercolours came to take up an increasingly important position in 19th-century art, with an incredible variety of subjects, styles and techniques.
Aside from impressionist and atmospheric landscapes from those of the Hague School, artists such as Springer and Bles excelled in their turn with incredibly minutely painted watercolours.
It holds good for all the artists that the landscapes, interiors and cityscapes they put on paper with water and pigment belong to the highlights of their oeuvres.
Mesdag: painter, collector and promoter of watercolours
As 2015 is the Mesdag Year, the exhibition in The Mesdag Collection in The Hague concentrates on the important part played by Hendrik Willem Mesdag as painter, collector and promoter of watercolours.
In his capacity as founder and member, he was for many years the driving force behind the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij (Dutch Drawing Company), an artist society especially set up for important watercolour painters. He submitted his own work for the annual exhibitions and until 1903 he bought dozens of drawings from other artists.
More than 45 works – watercolours from his own collection, along with loans from museums and private collections – show how watercolour painting took up an increasingly important role in 19th-century art.
The Mesdag Collection includes no fewer than thirteen works by Anton Mauve, in his own time a very successful artist of the Hague School. His best watercolours will be exhibited, including Sheep in a Barn.
Besides, a number of works will be on display that originally belonged to Mesdag’s private collection, but that are now found among private collectors. For instance, Albert Neuhuys Mother and Child are shown in the exhibition. In 1880, Mesdag bought this work at an exhibition of the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij; after his death it went for auction and is has recently been rediscovered in a private collection.r.
The Teylers Museum shows the development of Dutch watercolours in the 19th century by presenting a panoramic overview. The focus is on the development of the watercolour technique from ‘coloured drawings’ by romantic masters such as Koekoek, to the rather impressionist watercolour paintings of the Hague School.
The museum itself has a large collection of watercolours, collected by Hendrik Jacobus Scholten, the curator at the time and himself a talented watercolour painter.
Lectures and workshops
In addition to the exhibition, the two museums organize many lectures, workshops and guided tours. In their lectures, curators Maite van Dijk and Terry van Druten and art historian John Sillevis concentrate on themes such as the Hague School, Mesdag and the golden age of Dutch watercolour painting.
These lectures are free upon presentation of a valid entry ticket to the museum.
Supervised by professionals, workshops will be on offer for beginning as well as professional water colourists. The workshop Portrait Drawing takes students step by step through a general story and a demonstration about watercolour technique by draughtsman Siegfried Woldhek.
After an introductory discussion about the watercolour phenomenon, Watercolour Painting is an Art, contemporary artist Arno Kramer will examine the students’ own watercolour paintings.
To round off, the freshness and transparency of flowers in watercolour art is the focus of the workshop Botanical Watercolour Painting byJanneke Brinkman-Salentijn.
See www.aquarelexpo.nl for the complete programme of activities, opening hours and entry tickets.
Workshops can be booked via firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
There are also combination tickets for art enthusiast visiting both exhibitions.
Thoth publishers have published a richly illustrated catalogue of the exhibition.