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George Hendrik Breitner


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(b Rotterdam, 12 Dec. 1857; d Amsterdam, 5 June 1923).

Dutch painter and photographer. He was born in Rotterdam and studied in The Hague. Early in his career he was a friend of van Gogh, whom he encouraged. His most characteristic works of this time were military scenes, particularly of cavalry manoeuvres, but a visit to Paris in 1884 introduced him to Impressionism and he became the leading Dutch exponent of the style. In 1886 he settled in Amsterdam and he is best known for scenes of its busy harbour, its architecture, and its bustling street life. The unposed ‘snapshot’ compositions of many of these paintings reflect his interest in photography (he seems to have taken his camera with him everywhere). After 1910 he virtually gave up painting because of ill health.

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