Katwijks Museum

B.J. Blommers (1845 – 1914) – the sun rich Haagse School (School of The Hague)

Afgelopen (12 July 2016 till 12 November 2016)

The Katwijk’s Museum honours the memory of B.J. Blommers with this retrospective exhibition during this jubilee-year ’50 years of the Association Old Katwijk’. The artistic oeuvre of Blommers is illustrated by about 70 paintings, aquarelles and drawings . A large number of these works have been borrowed from other museums, private collections and art-galleries to give a representative view of the life and work of Bernadus Blommers.
The artist was well known for his sun-filled beach scenes of children at play, the waiting fisherman’s wives and the beachside fish auctions, scenes that he painted in his ateliers in Scheveningen and later, Katwijk.
B.J. Blommers –already an internationally acclaimed artist- left Scheveningen in 1900 when the picturesque activities on the beach disappeared after the excavation and building of a deep-water fishing harbor and the transition to using keeled fishing smacks. He moved to Katwijk where the traditional flat-bottom fishing smacks, launched from the beach, were still in use. He was able to enjoy the view of the beach scenes from the balcony of his villa with atelier ‘Thérèse‘, built on the dune next to the Old Church.
Blommers said: “You must see this sometime - directly from the balcony of our house next to that typical Katwijk’s Church and with the beautiful rolling hills in the background. I can sit there sometimes looking at it for hours. Then you see a man or woman, or perhaps a group walking by, it looks so good. And then the sun comes out to shine on them . That is really enjoyable!“
The subject matter of his work were the people living in the quarters around the old village-center, fishermen and their families of the Houtershof, the Parledam and the Leeuwenkuil. The themes were many: interiors, conversations in the yard, children playing on the beach, the women with their progeny watching or waiting for the departing or incoming fishing smacks, the fish-auctions on the beach.
B.J. Blommers can be named with Jan Toorop and Willy Sluiter as the most talked about of the artists that have ever lived in Katwijk and had a great artistic influence on others.
Just as Josef Israëls at the end of the nineteenth century was considered by some of his compatriots as the reincarnation of Rembrandt, so was Blommers thematically coupled to the world of Pieter de Hoogh and- as far as the children’s portraits go – to Frans Hals. But in contrast to Israëls –who gladly accepted this association with the masters of the Golden Age – one can agree with the 19th century critic J. van Santen, when he in 1875 called the work of Blommers heart-felt, sober and unpretentious . Through these qualities his work is still –a century after its’ creation – thoroughly enjoyable, in spite of the limited thematic scope .
For the first time in more than twenty years a new monograph about the artist is being published ‘ B.J. Blommers (1845 – 1914), a painter of The School of the Hague‘. The life and oeuvre of Blommers are described in this richly illustrated book. In addition , for the first time, his style development and the perception/recognition of his work in the Netherlands is also examined. The monograph, in which many until now unknown works are shown in color, offers a new view of Blommer’s artistry and his place within The School of The Hague .
The monograph is being published on the occasion of this the second comprehensive exhibition ever of Blommer’s work, by WBOOKS at a price of € 24,95.

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