Originally destined to become a house painter, Herman Kruyder (Lage Vuursche 1881-1935) evolved into one of the most important representatives of expressionism in the Netherlands. After training as a stained glass artist at the School of Applied Arts, Kruyder, in 1907, moved to Haarlem as a free artist, returning to live with his parents. He copied old masters at the Frans Hals Museum and became a member of various artists' associations. His encounter with the painter Henri Boot was significant. During these years, Kruyder painted impressionistic forest and meadow landscapes in the surroundings of Haarlem and Heemstede.
In 1912, Kruyder was admitted to the Amsterdam artists' association Sint Lucas, where luminism prevailed as an art movement, but attention was also given to fauvism. He exhibited five drawings at the members' exhibition; Leo Gestel was one of his fellow exhibitors. Kruyder was inspired by cubism and modernism and would develop his own style from there: a painting style with intense colors.
From 1916, he painted in a distinctive expressionistic style with flat surfaces, bold contours, and intense colors. He no longer painted the visible reality but his inner life, that of a child's soul. Nevertheless, he broke through and had several exhibitions. According to a review from 1921, Kruyder had 'won a first place among the moderns.' From 1922, the character of his work changed significantly when he settled in Bennebroek, where animals, the farm, and flowers dominated. Together with his wife (artist) Jo Kruyder-Bouman, he earned a living breeding dogs. The initially poetic scenes of people, animals, and nature became increasingly oppressive. The fears and depressions of the artist become palpable in his gripping work. He painted a cat toxic green on a cheese-yellow path in a blue meadow with flowers, not on but next to the table. In 1926, Herman Kruyder experienced a severe mental crisis and withdrew as a recluse.
In 1927, Kruyder settled in the artists' village of Blaricum. There, he revived and had more contact with Leo Gestel and the art collector P.A. Regnault, who regularly bought Kruyder's work from 1929 onwards. In the late twenties, his working method became more realistic, sometimes almost naive, reminiscent of the famous French artist Henri Rousseau. However, the frightening character of the work did not disappear. During this time, a series of large animals emerged, reflecting a dark atmosphere and his instincts with deformed forms. Between 1925 and 1935, he created his best works. They often seem childish, as if he is not looking back on his childhood as an adult. Life seems a bit complicated to him.