Breitner’s ‘Lady in Black’ (described in A. Venema, 1981). In this restoration dirt and darkened varnish were removed, and a small gap was then sculpted and retouched. This stunning Lady got even more stunning, with more colour on her cheek and lips.
George Hendrik Breitner (1857 – 1923) was a Dutch painter and photographer. As an important figure in Amsterdam Impressionism, he is noted especially for his paintings of street scenes in a realistic style. He painted en plein air, and became interested in photography as a means of documenting street life and atmospheric effects as reference materials for his paintings. This lady was painted by Breitner in 1885 and is described in the catalogue of A. Venema 1981.
In 1884 Breitner visited Paris and got acquainted with Impressionism. In his last year in Paris he painted this ‘Lady in Black’. Through the brush strokes one gets the impression that there is a lot of movement in which one can just get a glimpse of this lady. Not just a lady, but someone who is confident and self-assured.
Two years after van Gogh’s death, Breitner wrote that he didn’t like van Gogh’s paintings:”I can’t help it, but to me it seems like art for Eskimo’s, I cannot enjoy it. I honestly find it coarse and distasteful, without any distinction, and what so more, he has stolen it all from Millet end others.”
After conservation the Lady in Black was ready to go home to her owners. They were delighted and surprised with the colours and the brush strokes, with are now more visible then before. Now they can see the painting as it was supposed to be seen.