Amsterdam and Flemish art flashback

Following a recent visit to the AGNSW exhibition Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age – masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum, the brilliance of Rembrandt, his contemporaries, and those that followed, sent me digging deep into the past, travel notebooks, back to a journey in Europe and five days in Amsterdam in 1983. At the time an escape from frenzied life drawing more like scribbling classes. Amsterdam an art feast, as always the best way to get acquainted with a city was to walk as much as possible and catch public transport. However, footloose wandering without a plan did lead down some surrealist streets, past suspect shopfronts presented an ideal opportunity for some life drawing (inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec and Otto Dix), but decided to move on in case I was charged with loitering with intent to draw, and glad to make it back to the Leidseplein before dark.

Back then, I had the audacity to take a photo of Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch with an old film Kodak Instamatic camera, but well I was there and nothing was the same again as the saying goes. Thick texture, composition rather than side by side, back to front, so life like figures almost about to leap out of the frame, blazing with light, three dimensional.1 Unlike reproductions in books, that photo although faded (see below) always continues to resonate, evoking memories of the time and place when the photo was taken, so I tend to defend taking pictures of artworks provided it does not intrude on other peoples’ space in an exhibition or gallery2.

Another highlight was the exceptional collection at the Kröller-Müller Museum and the challenge of getting there by train, bus, and then a bike ride for a couple of kilometres in the De Hoge Veluwe National Park. “Established in 1934 a private collection gift to the State”3 The Museum represents a range of works from all periods from ancient Greece to modern art. It “has the second largest collection of Van Gogh’s works in the world, as well as modern masters including Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian. The sculpture garden now has more than 160 sculptures by prominent artists, from Auguste Rodin to Henry Moore, and from Jean Dubuffet to Joep van Lieshout” Art heaven for a few hours, first time I had seen works by among others Arp, Dubuffet, Maillol, Marini, Oldenburg, Snelson (see snaps below), Serra, di Suvero, Fontana. Going back through the collection on the website a continuing inspiration.

Locations, galleries, museums
Van Gogh Museum
Stedelijk Museum
Museum Fodor
Arts and Crafts Centre
Kröller-Müller Museum

Sense of Place
So busy looking at art, forgot to take any other photos of places

830831 Amsterdam canal tour
Amsterdam from the ferry, canal tour 31/8/1983

830831 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 1
Reminder of a neighbour, outside Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 31/8/1983

830831 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2
Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 31/8/1983

830901 Marken
Day trip to Marken, 1/9/1983

Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo 2/9/1983

830902 Marta Pan, Floating sculpture, 1960-61 Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Marta Pan, Floating sculpture, 1960-61

830902 Dubuffet Jardin d'email Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Jean Dubuffet, Jardin d’émail, 1973-74

830902 Maillol Air Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Aristide Maillol, The Sky, design 1939, cast in 1962

830902 Marini Rider Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Marino Marini, Horse and Rider, 1951-55

830902 Oldenburg Trowel Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Claes Oldenburg, Trowel, 1971

830902 Snelson Needle Tower Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo

830902 Snelson Needle Tower Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo 2
Kenneth Snelson, Needle Tower, 1968

Art References landscapes – Flemish origins
A selection from my art reference collection

Bosch (Hieronymus) The Hearing Forest and the Seeing Field (1470s) Staatliche Museen Berlin
Hieronymus Bosch The Hearing Forest and the Seeing Field, 1470s

Brueghel (Pieter) Winter the Dark Day 1565
Pieter Bruegel Winter the Dark Day, 1565

Reubens (Peter Paul) Philemon and Baucis 1620-25
Peter Paul Rubens Philemon and Baucis, 1620-25

Rembrandt van Rijn The Mill 1645-48 NGA Washington 3
Rembrandt van Rijn The Mill, 1645-48

van Ruisdael (Jacob) Waterfall & Hilly Wooded Landscape 1655
Jacob van Ruisdael, Waterfall & Hilly Wooded Landscape, 1655

Vermeer (Johannes ) View of Delft, 1660-61
Johannes Vermeer, View of Delft, 1660-61

Van Gogh (Vincent) Wheat_Field_with_Cypresses 1889
Vincent van Gogh, Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889

Willem de Kooning. Door to the River, 1960.
Willem de Kooning, Door to the River, 1960

Appel (Karel) Horizon of Tuscany #36, 1995
Karel Appel, Horizon of Tuscany n° 036, 1995

Other references
1 Simon Schama, Power of Art, 2006 (book and DVD)

Simon Schama, Rembrandt’s Eyes, 1999

 2 Instagram is changing the way we experience art, and that’s a good thing, Adam Suess and Kylie Budge, The Conversation, 31 January 2018

3 Kröller-Müller Museum, catalogue, 1981

Intensely Dutch: image, abstraction and the word post-war and beyond, exhibition catalogue, AGNSW 5 June-23 August 2009