Depth of Field, volume 6, no 1 (July 2015)Maartje van den Heuvel: The Rise of Dutch Landscape Photography. How a Vision of Painting entered Photography

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Abstract

In the discourse on the way in which visual art reflects and shapes our image of landscape – popular in the area where cultural geography and art history overlap – this article addresses the emergence of Dutch landscape photography. It spans a period beginning with stereoscopic photography of the 1850s to the pictorialist photography that was still being produced in the Netherlands during the 1930s. Attention is especially paid to the influence of an archetypical image of the Netherlands that was profiled in the second half of the nineteenth century by the painters of the so-called Hague School, such as Willem Roelofs, Jozef Israëls, Anton Mauve and Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch. In their paintings, Holland was a watery polder land with windmills and cows, inhabited by humble peasants and fishermen. It has been pointed out that, around 1900, this painterly image of the Hague School migrated from painting into artistic and touristic photography. The first to seek a painterly vision of Dutch landscape in the style of the Hague School with their cameras were photographers from abroad, including James Craig Annan, Alfred Stieglitz and Heinrich Kühn. Hereafter, Dutch photographers such as Adriaan Boer, Berend Zweers and Henri Berssenbrugge followed.