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Luminism in the Netherlands

Luminisme in Nederland - Lyklema Fine Art

Luminism in painting emerged between 1892 and about 1920 from post-impressionism, which also included elements of realism and impressionism. The emphasis in the artwork is on the representation of light, the light effects and the light radiation. Luminism was an intensified form of pointillism with wider block-shaped surfaces and stripes in bright colors. A performance was quickly put on the canvas with screaming bright strokes of paint. 'Lumen' is Latin for 'light'. The emphasis is on the radiant light effect. The color was decomposed into an expressive brushwork and therefore broader strokes. The founder was Emile Claus and Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig in the Netherlands.

HJ Wolter 

Dutch luminism was a reaction to the (gray) Hague School and impressionism and was influenced by the exhibition of lesson XX and by symbolism and the influence of, for example, Sluyters, who came into contact with new techniques numerous times in Paris. Numerous artists, including Jan Hendrik Wolter, Leo Gestel, Hart Nibbrig, Piet Mondriaan, Jan Sluyters, Jan Toorop, Dirk Smorenberg and Dirk Filarski, eventually worked in this style for a short or longer period of time.

Jan Toorop-1909-Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Luminist movement around Jan Toorop

In the Zeeland town of Domburg there was a real luminist movement around 1908. The light on the Zeeland islands would be different from the rest of the Netherlands. Lighter, blonder. The center of the 'Domburgers' was the painter, draftsman and graphic artist Jan Toorop (1858-1928). He visited the seaside resort in the summer of 1897, something he repeated for twenty years. In an impressionistic style, which was mainly aimed at conveying an impression, Toorop captured the effect of Zeeland light in Domburg.Piet Mondriaan - 1908 - Zeegezicht - Gemeentemuseum Den Haag


Well-known examples of this are the paintings Middelburg-Vlissingen Canal (1907) and Sea and Dunes near Domburg (1908). Other artists, including Piet Mondriaan, also tried to 'grab' this light. Mondrian's painting Sea to Sunset (1909) depicts the sensation he experienced in Domburg. Work by Toorop, Sluyters and Mondriaan, which hung at an exhibition at St. Lucas in 1908 and was executed in a late pointillist style, soon acquired the name luminism.

Hart Nibbrig - 1910 - Zoutelande


Lumunism in surrounding countries

Luminism can be compared with neo-impressionism and the later (pointilism) of the French Paul Signac, Georges Seurat and Camille Pissarro, among others. In 1904, Emile Claus founded the Vie et Lumière Circle and was therefore the founder of luminism, together with the painters from Latem George Morren and Adriaan Jozef Heymans. Well-known painters from this movement include Emile Claus and his pupil Jenny Montigny, Anna De Weert, Georges Buysse, Modest Huys, Yvonne Serruys and William Degouve de Nuncques, as well as the Dutchman Hendrik Jan Wolter who was trained in Antwerp. Georges Lemmen, James Ensor and Anna Boch also joined. Gust De Smet and Frits Van den Berghe also followed this direction for ten years. These painters, who had previously belonged to the art groups Les XX and La Libre Esthétique, strove for a more national or even Flemish identity in their works in the tradition of landscape painting purified from naturalism.

Emile Claus 1893 Zomer

Through Johan Thorn Prikker and Henry van de Velde, artists in Germany also developed towards luminism, including Helmut Macke, Heinrich Campendonck and Christiaan Rohlfs. This laid the foundation for movements such as Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke.


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