George Hendrik Breitner
Breitner once said he thought that Vincent van Gogh made ‘art for Eskimos’, because he was chiefly concerned with his own perception of reality. He, on the other hand, chose for the pure, bare reality. He painted and drew countless portraits, nudes and still lifes, but is known mainly as a painter of ‘life on the streets’. He roamed around Amsterdam with his sketchbook to record the city life: the fashionable but also the poorer districts, aristocratic ladies and housewives but also dockworkers or just two girls with their aprons blowing in the wind. After the invention of the practical camera he also increasingly recorded city scenes (and particularly the characteristic movement and lighting) in photographs. He developed these sketches and photographs into paintings in his studio. Breitner is considered to be one of the impressionists, but in contrast to his contemporaries he did not make colourful paintings. He actually chose for the grey, rainy weather, the snow, the wind and the dark days of autumn and winter, with people hurrying along the street. This small painting is just such a snapshot, painted fast and confidently in order to capture the atmosphere of the moment in the best possible way.
Source: Kröller-Müller Museum