Christie's charge a premium to the buyer on the final bid price of each lot sold at the following rates: 23.8% of the final bid price of each lot sold up to and including €150,000 and 14.28% of any amount in excess of €150,000. Buyers' premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.
Nieuwe Haagse School
When the general public thinks of Hague painters, it immediately thinks of those painters from The Hague School who created a national and international sensation at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. This school of painters was truly innovative. The paiters blazed a new path when it came to painting from nature. The Hague School flourished until approximately the beginning of World War I, only to be 'rediscovered' at the end of the 20th century.
During the inter-bellum, it appeared that The Hague could not hold its own artistically within the European avantgarde, although Vilmos Huszar (De Stijl 1917-1923), Piet Ouborg, and Willem Schrofer were important exceptions to the rule. Today, alas, it is only art enthusiasts who recognize that the 1950's and 1960's witnessed the emergence of an entirely new school of painting in The Hague around the artist collectives Verve Fugare, and the Posthoorngroep.
The post-war period witnessed the birth of a new élan in The Hague art. Standing at the front of this new spirit were Rein Draijer, Paul Citroen (Bauhaus 1922-1923), Jan van Heel, Toon Kelder, Christiaan de Moor, Wim Sinemus, and Arnold Smith, among others. Through their own
work and the host of pupils, they can be seen as the path breakers in a renewal of The Hague's visual art in the post-war period. The painters became especially attuned to artistic developments outside Holland, in general, and Paris in particular. But it was not simply admiration for the French visual art of the day that contributed to a renewal of post-war painting in The Hague. The fact that The Hague had an atmosphere conducive of the visual arts, just as it had during the years of The Hague School.
Since 1945, the Gemeente Museum The Hague (Municipal Museum) has played an important role in the visual art of The Hague. Beginning in 1947, the first in a series of exhibitions titled Hague Artists was organized with consideration given to artists "regardless of age, point of view, or organisational affiliation." Of the thirty-four artists in the exhibition, each was represented with two to eighteen works. A decade later, no less than half of them joined the artist collectives Verve (1951-1957), Fugare (1960-1967), and the Posthoorngroep (1956-1962). These three artists movements played a very important role in the development of The Hague art of the 1950's and 60's.
The New Hague School is often compared to the Amsterdam international movement CoBrA. The Amsterdam artists tried to break free from the art-establishment that resulted in a raw, direct, consciously primitive, colourful and extrovert form of abstraction. The Hague artists did not feel this urge to break with their tradition, this resulted in the sensitive, refined mix of subtle abstraction of stylized figuration. Nevertheless there was no feud between the Amsterdam and The Hague artists; one hardly knew the other personally.
In 1951, the group Verve was founded by Theo Bitter, Jan van Heel, Nol Kroes, Frans de Wit, and Willem Schrofer. It was Schrofer who also named the group and wrote its founding manifesto. The common goal was to reach out and influence different groups in the population through work and personal contact, whilst preserving the individual differences in talent and temperament. The artists called for 'more inventiveness and imagination, more 'Verve'.
The work of the Verve artists was predominantly grounded in modern figurative art. One of the binding characteristics that the artist had in common was the use of colour. The members of verve used a typical 'Hague palette' of delicate, subdued colours, just as the grey tints were the hallmark of the 'old' Hague school. The Hague's characteristically use of colour stood the test of time; making this refined and harmonious form of painting.
In addition to colour, there is another important common characteristic. In 1993, John Sillevis recalled that there was a nearly unrestrainable impulse within the group to paint kitsch subjects and decrepit utilitarian object such as used toys, dilapidated bird cages, rickety chairs, 'ugly' caravans, railway yards, and blind beggars. This passion for painting every day subjects had its roots in the realistic-painting of the inter-bellum.
At their highpoint Verve consisted of 25 members. Apart from the earlier mentioned founders other members were Jan Van Heel, Rein
Draijer, Ferry Slebe and Co Westerik.
Fugare was established on January 26, 1967 by George Lampe. Ten painters participated in the group from the start, amongst whom, Theo Bitter, Jan van Heel, Willem Hussem, Joop Kropff and Jaap Nanninga. The founding manifesto stated 'We, the artists of Fugare, offer our work as the answer to the most recent problems in the visual arts. We produce abstract, abstracting, or experimental work'. It is apparent that Fugare members did not shrink from the prevailing modes of abstract or semi-abstract art, which had such a great appeal at that time. Nevertheless figurative painting still had a place in Fugare. Considering the spirit of the times, Fugare should be seen as the logical successor to Verve.
This does not diminish the fact that there was less stylistic coherency in the Fugare group than there was in the early years of Verve. Nevertheless it appears that the Fugare members, like Verve members, employed a characteristic Hague palette in which subdued and harmonious colours predominated.
For some artists the period of Fugare constituted in to the apotheosis of their entire oeuvre. Willem Hussem, Jaap Nanninga and Wim Sinemus are clear examples of this. Their abstraction reached an artistic peak during the Fugare years.
The Posthoorngroep can be seen as an intermediate between Verve and Fugare. The group was named after the Posthoorn-café in the centre of The Hague, close to the Pulchri Studio. Since 1949 owner Jan Knijnenburg gave the artist who frequented 'De Posthoorn' the opportunity to show their work. Gradually it became the place for avant-garde-art in The Hague. When in 1956 Knijnenburg rented the rooms next to the café and made it into an exhibition room the initial idea was to expose abstract art. In practice the exhibitions showed a combination of modern figurative art, as well as abstraction and abstract art.
During these years exhibitions showed abstraction of for instance Theo Bitter, Jan Cremer, Willem Hussem and Jaap Nanninga, as well as figuration of artists like Ber Mengels, Jan Roede, and Ferry Slebe. Contrary to the Amsterdam battle between abstract and figurative artists The Hague atmosphere was one of tolerance. The integration between different groups of artist in this one movement makes the Posthoorngroep an important platform for the development of The Hague modern art as well as a connection between different 'schools' of painting that made The Hague such a artistic vibrant city.
Although the interest for the 'Nieuwe Haagse School' was somewhat faded over the last 20 years, there has always been a small group of collectors that appreciated the works of these artists. The exhibition in the Gemeente Museum in The Hague in 2003 contributed to the renewed interest in this artistic high point for The Hague cultural history. Christie's Amsterdam is proud to present a collection of which many were included in this show.