Hoogsteder Journal No. 08

Bredius Museum reborn

It is ten years since the Bredius Museum opened its doors on The Hague’s Lange Vijverberg. Today, a visit to this unobtrusive museum remains one of the best kept secrets on the tourist trail, even for local residents. Four people closely involved with the museum offer their thoughts on the collection and its founder.

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Mathieu Dubus, avant-gardist

In 1939 Abraham Bredius bought a painting by Mathieu Dubus. At the time few people knew anything about the artist. Nevertheless, Bredius recognised the true artistic quality of the painter’s work. Today, we know Dubus to have been a modern artist in his own day. Indeed, he was one of the few disciples of the celebrated Hercules Segers.

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A monumental Hobbema

Abraham Bredius never managed to acquire a large representative work by Meindert Hobbema. The Bredius Museum only has a small, unsigned panel painted in his early years. A fine woodland view from his monumental period always remained elusive.

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Abraham Blommaert’s reputation restored

A small landscape in Bredius’s private collection is inscribed in a fine calligraphic hand with the signature ‘A.Blommaert’. It belongs to a group of landscapes at one time attributed to Adriaen Bloemaert. Bredius, however, doubted whether this Utrecht artist was indeed the painter of these landscapes.

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From Pieter Molijn via Jan van Goyen to Anthony van der Croos

These days landscapes by Jan van Goyen and his followers are among the most sought-after paintings of the Golden Age. A hundred years ago it was quite a different story. When Bredius suggested buying Jan van Goyen’s ‘View of Dordrecht from Papendrecht’ for the Mauritshuis they thought he was joking. But he persevered. Indeed, he contributed in a major way to the reassessment of Dutch realistic landscape painting.

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Weenix becomes D’Hondecoeter

One of the paintings in the Bredius Museum is a still life with a hare. This picture bears the signature Weenix and the Bredius Museum catalogue lists it as a work by Jan Weenix. However this attribution was called into question at an early stage.

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Collaboration of Dirck Wyntrack and Joris van der Haagen

While researching the archives, Bredius came across the names of many painters whose work was either little, or not known at all. Whenever he came across a picture by one of these artists he would try to purchase it, thereby rescuing many painters from oblivion. Among these was the landscapist Joris van der Haagen, now a highly esteemed artist, and the fowl painter Dirck Wyntrack.

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Exhibition Diary

  • Bredius Museum
  • De Kunsthal
  • Haarlem and Antwerp
  • Kinderen op hun mooist/Pride and Joy
  • Off to Den Bosch
  • Dordrecht

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