Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland, 1880-1914 examines the work of forty American painters drawn to Holland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These artists established colonies in six communities in the Netherlands: Dordrecht, Egmond, Katwijk, Laren, Rijsoord, and Volendam. With the exception of Dordrecht, all were small, pre-industrial villages.
Inspired by their pastoral surroundings as well as the great tradition of seventeenth-century Dutch art and the work of the contemporary Hague School, these American artists created visions of Dutch society inspired by a nostalgic yearning for a pre-modern way of life. The exhibition includes works by Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman, and John Singer Sargent, along with painters admired in their own time but less well known today. These artists were among hundreds of Americans who traveled to the Netherlands between 1880 and 1914 to paint and to study.
From an art historical perspective, I’m generally drawn to exhibitions with similar themes. And, in Dutch Utopia there is a good intermingling of famed and lesser known American artists.