16 January 2016 till 16 May 2016

Past and Forgotten

Drawings from the early nineteenth century

The early years of the nineteenth century were a time of sweeping change in the Dutch art world. Following France’s annexation of the Netherlands, King Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (r. 1806-1810) introduced a host of reforms designed to boost the visual arts. An academy was established and prizes and scholarships were awarded to enable young artists to develop their talents in Paris and Rome. As a result, artists were trained in the international taste of the period. However, when the French withdrew from the Netherlands following the fall of Napoleon, there was a revulsion against such international influences. A resurgence of nationalist sentiment inspired a search for a distinctively Dutch artistic identity. This was eventually to produce impressive results in the second half of the century, for example in the work of the Hague School. But the academic endeavours of the early nineteenth-century artists were regarded as old-fashioned and consequently often ‘forgotten’. This new exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’s Berlage Room presents drawings from this neglected period of Dutch art, selected both from the museum’s own holdings and from private collections.


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