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October 5, 2017

28 Astounding Vintage Photographs That Capture Street Scenes of Amsterdam From Between the 1890s and 1900s

George Hendrik Breitner (1857–1923) was a Dutch painter and photographer. An important figure in Amsterdam Impressionism, he is noted especially for his paintings of street scenes and harbors in a realistic style. He painted en plein air, and became interested in photography as a means of documenting street life and atmospheric effects – rainy weather in particular – as reference materials for his paintings.

Breitner was born in Rotterdam. In 1876, he enrolled at the academy in The Hague. Later, he worked at Willem Maris's studio. In this early period he was especially influenced by the painters of the Hague School. Breitner preferred working-class models: laborers, servant girls and people from lower-class neighborhoods. He saw himself as ‘le peintre du peuple’, the people’s painter.

In 1886, he moved to Amsterdam, where he recorded the life of the city in sketches, paintings and photos. Sometimes he made several pictures of the same subject, from different angles or in different weather conditions. Photos might serve as an example for a painting. Breitner often collaborated with Isaac Israels; both painters are referred to as Amsterdam Impressionists. Conservative critics called Breitner’s style ‘unfinished’.

A street vendor on the Rokin.

The Kolkje and Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

Geldersekade and Geldersche quay.

A view of the Rokin.

Children play in an alley.

Four young women on the street in the Runstraat.

Workers at the construction site of the Municipal Bath and Swimming Facility at the Heiligeweg.

The intersection of Lindengracht and Lijnbaansgracht.

View of the Prinsengracht at the bridge over the Leidsegracht.

Workers on the Van Diemenstraat.

A view of the Dam.

Children play in a sand dump near Prince Island.

A carriage on the Dam.

Blacksmiths work on shoeing a horse.

View of the Torensluis Bridge over the Singel Canal.

A cyclist on the Prinsengracht.

A snowy view of the Damrak.

A cart dog takes a rest.

A carriage on the Leidseplein.

Children play near the entrance to Breitner's studio on Prince Island.

A girl crosses a bridge on Prince Island.

Portrait of a woman walking over the Prinsengracht.

View of the Singel on a rainy day.

A woman on the Spui.

A view of the Raadhuisstraat.

View of a canal.

View of Gasthuismolensteeg on the corner of the Herengracht.

Waalseilandsgracht seen from the Prince Hendrikkade.

(Photos: George Henrik Breitner/Rijksmuseum/Europeana, via Mashable/Retronaut)


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