By the end of the nineteenth century the flat and open Dutch landscape with its famous cloudy skies and mills changes once and for all: railways, channels and bridges appear. The attractive landscape, captured by various painters belonging to The Hague School, rapidly changed. With over thirty historic photographs and an exquisite selection of The Hague School paintings from the collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Neue Pinakothek Munich, Kunsthal Rotterdam casts a surprising glance at the landscape painting and photography of the nineteenth century.
Industrialization The Industrialization set in relatively late in the Netherlands. It was only from 1860 onwards that industrialization and urbanization started to leave their marks on the Dutch landscape. Kilometers of train rails were constructed. The digging of channels and building of railroad bridges opened up various areas. The big infrastructural works altered the typically Dutch landscape with its desolate fields, vacant polders and low horizons. Instead of all this, a modern landscape, with steam driven pumping stations, broad and straight rivers and a web of railways and telegraph poles, emerged.
Painting Following the French School of Barbizon painters belonging to The Hague School, amongst whom Willem Roelofs, Anton Mauve, the Maris brothers and Johan Weissenbruch went outside in order to capture the Dutch landscape on canvas. As subject of their paintings they chose places where the rise of industry and cities was still visible. In a realistic manner and with great sense of use of light and atmosphere they painted the dunes, the sea and polders.
Photography Not only painters belonging to The Hague School, but also photographers showed a keen interest in the alterations of the landscape. Commissioned by the engineers at Rijkswaterstaat a small group of photographers, amongst whom Pieter Oosterhuis and Henri de Louw, documented the examples of the constructional tour de force that emerged in the landscape. The business like photo series which they made clearly show how the Dutch landscape was permanently and radically changed by the end of the nineteenth century.
The Hague School and the modern Dutch Landscape
collection Rijksmuseumothek, München, Amsterdam and Neue Pinak
Curator: Charlotte van Lingen