The New Dutch Masters
The Golden Age of Dutch painting produced some of the best-known names in art. Those painters were creating something new in the history of European art, breaking away from the religious iconography of the Catholic continent to focus on more everyday subjects. In doing so, they changed Western art forever, paving the way for future generations.
Fast forward a few centuries, and Dutch artists are still influencing the world of art in unique and exciting ways. The collection at the Stedelijk Museum includes some of the very best works from these artists and designers, showing how they’ve lead the way forward in modern art. Take a stroll around the corner from the Conservatorium and lose yourself in the breathtaking works of these modern Dutch Masters.
Everyone has seen a Mondrian at some point or another. His geometric abstract paintings are recognised the world over, and his work is almost synonymous with modern art. The forms he created even helped to define the aesthetics of an era 20 years after his death, with Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian fashion collection.
Must see: Composition No. IV With Red, Blue and Yellow
Breaking the rules slightly for a moment with a furniture designer – but no less an artist – Gerrit Rietveld headed the De Stijl artistic movement founded in 1917 in Leiden. Rietveld designed the iconic Red and Blue Chair, an integral piece of the modern furniture landscape.
Must see: His Aluminumstoel, a chair made from a single piece of aluminium.
Vincent van Gogh
Though the Van Gogh Museum has the lion’s share of his work, the Stedelijk has several of his finest paintings. This iconic artist helped to lay the foundations of modern art with his innovative techniques, colours, and compositions. You can find several of his later works at the Stedelijk, including landscapes, portraits, and still-life studies.
Must see: Outskirts of Paris, View from Montmartre
Theo van Doesburg
Doesburg was another artist at the heart of the De Stijl movement, and it was through this that he was influenced and inspired by the works of Mondrian. Doesburg admired the complete detachment from reality in Mondrian’s paintings, and created his own counterpart works to complement his mentor’s.
Must see: Counter-Composition V
Bart van der Leck
Though a fellow founder of the De Stikl movement, Van der Leck moved away from the pure abstract of Mondrian’s work, and chose instead to create representational images based on real places and objects. He didn’t speak of his colleague Doesburg with much respect either, saying the artist had ‘no ideas of his own’.
Must see: The Drinker
Willem de Kooning
Though he became a well-known part of the New York School of modern art, Kooning started his career in his home nation attending the Academy of Fine Arts and Applied Sciences in Rotterdam. His later influence as part of the American abstract expressionist movement made him one of best-known modern Dutch artists, with his paintings and sculptures exhibited around the world.
Must see: Morning: The Springs