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Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
A slender woman stands before a mirror and puts on an earring. This is Breitner's favourite model: the young hat salesgirl Geesje Kwak. We se her from behind, but her concentrated expression can be seen in the mirror. She is wearing a blue kimono with a flower pattern. She wears a white sash around her waist. George Hendrik Breitner mainly painted scenes of everyday life in Amsterdam. He painted a large series of paintings of young women wearing kimonos, of which this is one. In the second half of the nineteenth century there was a growing interest in Japanese art in Europe. Japanese art objects were shown at the various Worlds Fairs and exhibitions of Japanese prints were organised. Artists such as Monet, Manet and Van Gogh were inspired by Japanese art. Around 1890 Breitner noted the titles of several books on Japanese art in his sketchbook. It seems he too was reading about Japanese art. It is in the same period that he made his paintings with young women in kimonos.
George Hendrik Breitner mainly became famous with his paintings of Amsterdam street life. He studied at various academies, including the Hague Academy, the Polytechnic in Delft, the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam and the Académie Cormon in Paris. In Paris, Breitner came into contact with impressionism. He called his work the opposite to that of Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh made use of bright colours to express the contrasts in his own moods, while Breitner wanted to show pure, naked reality. Breitner travelled frequently, including a trip in 1909 to Philadelphia and New York.
material and technique: oil on canvas
kind of object: painting
creditline: Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1952 (Schenking / Donation: W.H. de Monchy en / and Erasmusstichting)
inventory number: St 95