The still life has been a popular genre of painting for centuries, and it has a long tradition. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, still life changes considerably. Artists in the Netherlands and Belgium abandon classical, realistically painted and arranged compositions. Exotic bouquets are replaced by flowers from the garden, luxury items give way to everyday pots and vases. More exuberant colours are used, and the images become more abstract. But the most important development: artists use the still life as a testing ground to explore and push the boundaries of form, colour and composition. The Still Life exhibition shows the essence and journey of the modern Dutch and Belgian still life.
From the 1840s, artists headed out into nature to paint the landscape. Until that time, such paintings were made in the studio. The little hamlet of Barbizon, south of Paris, and the village of Oosterbeek, located on the edge of the Dutch Veluwe, develop into popular artist colonies in the middle of the nineteenth century. The exhibition Painting Outdoors presents the inspired work of French and Dutch artists that found their own interpretation to painting ‘en plein air’.