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We all know Van Gogh, Van Dongen and Mondrian well, Scheffer and Jongkind a little less, while Maris and Breitner are practically unknown to us. They have on thing in common though, that is that all were Dutch and all lived at a given moment in their careers in Paris. They all lived sometime between the French Revolution and the First World War. And as the catalogue of the exhibition at the Van Gogh museum (until 7 January, then at the Petit Palais in Paris) reminds us, access was very easy between Amsterdam and Paris at the time, thanks to the railway. As of 1847, one could travel from one city to the other in a day. It does seem the French capital was the center of the art world when we see the statistics: out of the 13,908 artists studied, 567 travelled to Belgium, 351 to Italy – the former nation of the Grand Tour -, 112 to Great-Britain, and 1136 to France. A strong art market, the interest in contemporary production – with the Annual Fair (Salon) and the collections of the Luxembourg museum, as of 1818- attracted burgeoning talents. The way the book is presented helps us easily understand, with each one of the artists studied placed in a specific chapter.

The Dutch in Paris, 1789-1914, Van Gogh Museum, 2017, 272 p., €29.95

Universe - Collective

Review published in the newsletter #496 - from 21 December 2017 to 10 January 2018

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