Jill Newhouse and Mireille Mosler are pleased to present Dreaming of France and Dreaming of Holland, two separate exhibitions at Jill Newhouse Gallery of paintings and works on paper by artists or artists working in France or in the Netherlands in the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The exhibitions will be on view from May 3-28, 2021, by appointment only.
While travel restrictions prevented the two dealers from visiting Europe this year for the first time in their careers, their countries of expertise remained on their minds, resulting in two simultaneous exhibitions highlighting the galleries’ areas of specialization. Artists flocked to Paris during the Belle Époque between 1871 and 1914, eager to admire innovations in art and architecture, while others traveled to Holland for the picturesque fishing villages and countrysides, attracted to a world seemingly frozen in time. Each exhibition transports us so that we can see what these artists registered, in portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.
A group of drawings executed on the Dutch island of Marken in 1878 by the Belgian symbolist Xavier Mellery (1845-1921) show the appeal of this isolated enclave. Another Belgian artist, William Degouve de Nuncques (1867-1935) took refuge in Amsterdam during World War I drawing the canals that reminded him of home in Bruges. Dutch artists represented are Leo Gestel (1881-1941), H.P. Bremmer (1871-1956), Jacobus van Looy (1855-1930), among others.
A large early drawing by Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), who would later move to Paris and New York, shows the figurative roots that ultimately took him to complete abstraction. Mondrian’s contemporary and fellow De Stijl participant Chris Beekman (1887-1964) landscape from 1904 reveals the same trajectory.
A student of Whistler, the Welsh Gwen John (1876-1939) is an example of a female artist working in France. As Rodin’s model and muse, John moved to Meudon, where her almost sculptural gouache of houses was executed. Indonesian born Jan Toorop (1858-1928) worked in Belgium at the encouragement of Ensor who supported his acceptance in the Belgian Les XX in 1884. Toorop’s use of a palette knife to paint his houses in Machelen around the same time was influenced by Ensor.
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) and the Nabis artists had a close connection to Paris’ avant- garde theater. Capturing his model in dark ink in the night reveals his particular genius. The obscure Belgian draughtsman George Le Brun’s (1873-1914) depiction of a man also turned away from the viewer is another example of the abundance of black drawing media exploding onto the market at the end of the nineteenth century.