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Brieven van G. Η. Breitner aan Η. J. van der Weele

Paul Hefting and P. H. Hefting
Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek (NKJ) / Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art
Vol. 27, 19de EEUWSE NEDERLANDSE SCHILDERKUNST: Een zestal studies (1976), pp. 127-173
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24705897
Page Count: 47
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Brieven van G. Η. Breitner aan Η. J. van der Weele
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Abstract

Some time ago seventy-odd letters from G. H. Breitner (1857—1923) came to light from the archives of the descendants of the Hague painter Herman van der Weele (1852—1923). They date from the years 1886 to 1917 and supplement Breitner's correspondence from the years 1877 to 1887 with A. P. van Stolk and A. F. Reicher, which was published in 1970 (see Note 2 to the introduction). Breitner and Van der Weele had known each other since around 1879. They both lived in The Hague and were members of the Pulchri Studio artists' society. We know little about the contacts between them up to 1886, although their names are mentioned a few times in the letters of Van Gogh. In 1823—3 Van Gogh regularly visited Van der Weele at his home and every now and then he also met Breitner there or saw work by him in Van der Week's possession. In 1886 Breitner moved to Amsterdam, while Van der Weele remained in The Hague and it was then that the correspondence between the two friends began. The letters give a nice picture of Breitner's life in Amsterdam, sometimes revealing what he was working on and what his thoughts and feelings were. The content of the correspondence can best be summarized by listing some of the subjects that crop up in the letters: paintings, drawings and etchings on which Breitner was engaged or which he was planning to make; sendings to exhibitions; opinions on his own work or that of others (e.g. Van Gogh: 'Art for Eskimoes'); contacts with other artists at the Amsterdam Academy or in the Arti et Amicitiae Society, in which he held various offices; the move to Amsterdam and to various rooms in Amsterdam; the studio he had built on Prinseneiland; detailed accounts of his illnesses, including the serious eye complaint that kept him in hospital for a long while; his, mostly bad, fiancial circumstances; his thoughts and feelings about his own life, his disappointments or successes; his stay at Elspeet on the Veluwe and his opinion of the people there; photography; etching; the preparations for his large retrospective exhibition in 1901; visits and guests; the weather. Although the content of the letters neither goes very deep nor produces any great surprises, this correspondence does nonetheless constitute a source for the study of Breitner's work during his Amsterdam period.

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