Willem Bastiaan Tholen (1860-1931) & Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël (1828-1903)
The artist Gabriël in a landscape
Oil on canvas on panel
26 x 37 cm
Signed lower left and dated 'Tholen '79 met correcties van Gabriël'
Private collection Den Haag
Marieke Jooren (red.), Willem Bastiaan Tholen - Een gelukkige natuur. Uitgeverij Toth, 2019. cat. 1, p. 104.
Fondation Custodia, Paris, 21 September t/m 15 December 2019, Un impressioniste néerlandais. Willem Bastiaan Tholen (1860-1931).
Dordrechts Museum, 9 February t/m 1 November 2020, Willem Bastiaan Tholen (1860-1931), een gelukkige natuur.
Willem Bastiaan Tholen was a Dutch painter who grew up in an artistic environment, where his father was active as a painter and art dealer. His education at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam laid the foundation for his career as an artist. After his education, he sought further depth with the Hague School painter Constant Gabriël, with whom he developed a special bond. They often spent their summers together, painting en plein air in the peat bogs around Kampen and the picturesque Giethoorn.
Around 1880, Tholen and Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël went on several excursions to create outdoor and plein air nature studies, sometimes portraying each other. This collaboration resulted in a number of oil studies, which were not intended for sale but served as references for future works.
This work attests to this practice, depicting the fellow painter Gabriël in nature with his painting equipment. Still wet, Gabriël made adjustments to Tholen's study, which are visible in the green around the painter and the blue in the sky. Using a much rougher touch, he made corrections to instruct the still young Tholen. The dual authorship of this work is unique within Tholen's oeuvre.
Tholen's versatility as an artist is evident in his diverse subjects, ranging from water and harbor scenes with boats to landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits. His love for sailing and boats is reflected in his paintings of the Dutch inland waters and rivers, where he captured the movement of water and clouds with refinement.
Despite his close ties to the Hague School painters, Tholen refused to categorize himself fully within that movement. His use of color was subtly different, often more subdued or vibrant, and his choice of subjects more diverse. Atmosphere and tonality played a central role in his work, with a subtle slanting light that gave his paintings a special liveliness.
Tholen was a restless artist who settled in various cities in the Netherlands, ultimately establishing a studio in The Hague. His work is represented in prestigious collections, including those of the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
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