• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2785

    19th Century European Art

    15 April 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 161

    George Hendrik Breitner (Dutch, 1857-1923)

    Two girls in the snow

    Price Realised  


    George Hendrik Breitner (Dutch, 1857-1923)
    Two girls in the snow
    signed 'GH Breitner.' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    58 x 56.5 cm.

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    The present painting by Breitner epitomizes his much quoted intention to become 'le peintre du people'. The girls that populate Breitners paintings are often maids or factory-workers. He was interested in the: 'Jordaanse type dat voor ieder wellicht niet even aantrekkelijk is, maar waarvan het eigendommelijk karakter toch door niemand zal ontkend worden.' (in: interview with H.L. Berckenhoff, Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant, 16 November 1890).

    It is precisely the coarse quality of the models used in this painting that make these girls so interesting. They represent the increasing industrialization that was changing the shape of Amsterdam and its street-life. Breitner allows for a rich contrast between the clothing of the young women and the snowy environment in which they stand. Their faces are built up from a large number of thick flesh tones which are set against an abstracted and achromatic background giving the work an almost expressionistic character.

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    Anonymous sale, Mak, Dordrecht, 16-17 March 1943, lot 3, as: Twee vrouwen.
    Kunsthandel Kremer, Düsseldorf.
    Mr Jan Wiegers, Amsterdam.