12 June 2019
On display at the Mesdag Collection in The Hague from 13 September 2019 to 5 January 2020.
In autumn 2019, the exhibition Jean-François Millet and the Hague School will be on display at the Mesdag Collection in The Hague. Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) is renowned as being the definitive peasant painter; his dignified portrayal of the harsh peasant life was pioneering and he inspired many artists, including those of the Hague School. Painters such as Jozef Israëls, Anton Mauve, Matthijs Maris and Adolphe Artz were all influenced by his radical compositions, his subject matter and the aura of his work.
This exhibition explores how these Dutch artists were inspired by Millet’s art, and how they adopted aspects of it in their own work. Jean-François Millet and the Hague School opens on 13 September 2019 at the Mesdag Collection in The Hague, and will be on display until 5 January 2020.
Jean-François Millet inspired the artists of the Hague School with his dignified impressions of the unrelenting arable toil and the associated domestic life, going against the conventional tradition of the time. The Hague School painters Jozef Israëls, Anton Mauve, Matthijs Maris, Willem Roelofs, Bernard Blommers and Adolphe Artz were the most significant Dutch artists to be inspired by Millet. Most of these painters headed out of The Hague to paint in the countryside, making authentic and unidealized depictions of the unspoilt landscape and village life, echoing Millet’s approach in Barbizon.
These painters were also impressed by Millet’s unacademic style and compositions. The French painter allowed the peasant figures to dominate the landscape, and filled considerable parts of his canvas with nothing but roughly dug earth. Millet’s compositions were therefore radical. These characteristic Millet elements can be seen in various works by Hague School artists featured in the exhibition.
Up until now, Millet’s significance to this generation of Dutch artists has been neglected. Hendrik Willem and Sientje Mesdag collected work by both Millet and the Hague School artists. Today, the Mesdag Collection in The Hague still has one of the largest collections of Millet’s work of any Dutch museum. In Jean-François Millet and the Hague School, a substantial part of this collection will be displayed alongside works by Hague School artists.
Millet at the Van Gogh Museum
Jean-François Millet and the Hague School runs concurrently with the exhibition Jean-François Millet: Sewing the Seeds of Modern Art at the Van Gogh Museum. Both exhibitions explore how Millet influenced 19th-century artists, while the exhibition at the Mesdag Collection focuses on the group of artists from the Hague School. The Van Gogh Museum Foundation took over management of the Mesdag Collection in 1990.