The year 1916 was an important turning point in the development of Harm Kamelingh Onnes. In this year he came in to contact with the artist Theo van Doesburg. Before that year the art of Kamerlingh Onnes was clearly influenced by the work his father Menso Kamerlingh Onnes and his uncle, Floris Verster. Especially the latter inspired him to refer to the works of Vincent van Gogh, of whom he was a great admirer; nevertheless works from this period already show a very own stylistic vocabulary. His impressionist 'loose touch,' modern perspective, as well as his subject matter made him a by-blow in the more traditional art scene in Leiden.
Although the key issue for Van Doesburg focussed on the theoretical, for Kamerlingh Onnes the search was much more visual. His stylistical development in 1916 is quite remarkable. In one year he develops from a search to the boundaries of the impressionism, with strong broad brush strokes, to early dreamy expressionism with strong dark-light contrasts, eventually leading to a form of divisionism. These later compositions can be seen as Kamerlingh Onnes' interpretation of luminist abstraction.
The present lot is a clear example of his search of 1916. Although the perspective is rather traditional, the brush strokes and use of color contrast exemplify the creative stage in the Modernist search of Harm Kamerlingh Onnes.