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The Haagse School

De Haagse School - Lyklema Fine Art
'The Hague School' is a name for a group of painters who worked in The Hague and surrounding areas between 1860 and 1890. The heyday of the Hague School lies roughly between 1870 and 1885. Well-known painters of the Hague School are Jozef Israëls, Anton Mauve, Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch, Willem Roelofs, Hendrik Willem Mesdag, Constantin Gabriel and Jacob and Jacob & Willem Maris. They opposed the conservative romantic style that was taught at art academies. They strove for a realistic representation of reality rather than an idealized representation of a subject.

Anton Mauve
It revolves around the representation of the light and atmosphere of the landscape. They achieved this through a tempered palette with subtle use of contrasts between light and shadow, often in different shades of brown and gray, which meant that the paintings could be quite gloomy at the beginning of the movement. The shades of the Dutch landscape and the often cloudy weather play a natural role in this, but above all these 'sons of the misty north' sought the enchantment of the tone, in which the colors were accurately matched and variegation was avoided. Some critics spoke highly of this as the 'poetry of gray'. Bilders speaks in 1860 of 'a fragrant, warm gray tonal palette'. Pearl gray tones captured the fog or a wet, cold autumn day. The winter landscapes around The Hague were captured with tones of white, as if you were walking straight into the landscape. That is partly why the Dutch skies are still so famous and magical among tourists.

The unexplored landscape around The Hague (as far as Gouda) was an inexhaustible source for the gentlemen. In fine, delicate nuances they managed to suggest the limitless space of a Dutch (water) landscape and capture changing skies. The many windmills and of course the fishing fleet of Scheveningen with the changing cloud formations above the water are the most important subjects in paintings and watercolors. Catching shrimp along the water's edge or scenes on the beach are also common.

'The big gray people', Vincent van Gogh called it in his letters to Theo. Van Gogh's description was not intended to be negative. He was full of admiration because they looked at the 'ordinary' landscape around them with 'new' eyes and recorded in quick, spontaneous brushstrokes their impressions of mood and atmosphere, the seasons, the weather, the moments of the day. Anton Mauve was Van Gogh's cousin.
Anton Mauve


Willem Roelofs is called the great inspiration of the Hague School. He was one of the first to travel from his hometown of Brussels to Barbizon in 1850, where he was inspired by the painters who captured nature 'En plein air': a revolution in landscape painting and showed a break with the ideal image by drawing from observation. drawing and painting. This French group of artists worked in the forests around the town of Barbizon south of Paris around 1850.

Most artists already knew each other from meetings in the Pulchri Studio that Weissenbruch and Roelofs had founded in 1847. That also became the headquarters where they organized art reviews, farces, exhibitions and winter festivals. Painters who joined later had met each other in or around Oosterbeek. Later, Mauve and Israel, among others, go to Laren.


Due to the influence of Impressionism, the use of color becomes lighter and brighter over time and the brushwork becomes looser. After their heyday, the Amsterdam Impressionists, Symbolists and Neo-Impressionists became more important in influencing art in the Netherlands and beyond.

Sources: Wiki and the book The Hague School by De Gruyter.

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