George Hendrik Breitner
- Category : Art-Photography
- Type : R
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : None
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 3
Dutch painter and photographer.
Breitner is primarily known as a painter of Amsterdam cityscapes, nudes and genre studies. With his friend Willem Witsen he shared an interest in photography. Using hand held camera's he made snap shots of city life.
Breitner was the son of Heinrich Breitner, a clerk, later commissioned grain dealer in Rotterdam and Marie Anne Henriette Gortmans. Till age 14 he went to school, thereafter he worked as a junior clerk in a grain trade firm like his father. Around age 17 or 18 he became tired of it and decided to become a painter. End 1875 he went to the Hague Drawing Academy of J. Ph. Koelman. He followed this evening school till 1882 and combined it with work and study over day. From January 1875-1876 he visited the Royal Academy of Art at The Haque, got a diploma for drawing teacher, worked in the studio of Willem Maris, and started to give lessons in 1878 at Leiden. He also taught art at the Rotterdam (1882-83) and later studied again at the Amsterdam Academy (1886-1887) and at the Académie Cormon in Paris (1886-87).
Breitner was not very self confident about his artistic talents and he doubted a lot about which way to go as an artist. He first wanted to become a classical history painter, but around 1882 he decided to become "Le peintre du peuple" , painting ordinary people in the streets, their houses and their life. For this reason he is associated with the social realism of Courbet, but he was more an observer that kept distance and he was not politically active. He was an active member of the "Art for art" Dutch "Tachtigers" movement.
In 1886 he moved to Amsterdam and fulfilled his wish as a member of the Amsterdam Impressionistic school. He also was connected to as well the Haque School of painting and the cultural movement of "De Tachtigers". Painters like Isaac Israëls, Willem Witsen and the poets Willem Kloos and Lodewijk van Deyssel belonged to his friends. Earlier (1882) he met the Van Gogh brothers, but he was not impressed by Van Gogh's art ("coarse and distastefull"). The same would be said of his realistic paintings of nudes.
On September 18 1901 Breitner married Maria Catharina Josphina Jordan (1866 - 14 Sept 1948) at Amsterdam. They got no children.
During his life he had often financial trouble, but around the turn of the century he became famous. He had a successful exhibition at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam (1901). The success allowed him to travel abroad (Paris, Indonesia, New York).
Breitner died on 5 June 1923 in Amsterdam at age 65.