It was a beautiful day in Laren. We had no trouble understanding why painters have loved the place for over 100 years. We came to see the exhibition Painters of the Light. But we decided to go for the full package: coffee & apple pie in Singer’s sunny sculpture garden, a glimpse of the Singer villa and the so called Liebermann walk, A highly recommended outing!
Painters of light
How did painters handle light in their paintings around 1900? Modernists, impressionists, pointillists and their colleagues – Monet to Sluijters – they all have their own approach while influencing one another. ‘Painters of Light’ the current exhibition in the Singer Museum is fascinating reconstruction, showing mostly Dutch painters. That is: apart from the occasional Monet and the recently acquired Max Liebermann painting of a young girl. A sterling example of a painter of light.
Introducing the light
Co Breman and Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig introduced the new way of painting in Laren around the turn of the century.
William and Anna Singer
William Singer, heir to a very wealthy American steel manufacturer, and his wife Anna moved to Laren in 1901. William wanted to paint than follow in his father’s millionaire footsteps. The villa they built in Laren was called The Wild Swans, and is now part of the current Singer Museum. Some of their rooms with furniture and paintings remain. As does their beautiful garden.
The Liebermann Walk
Named after the famous German painter Max Liebermann, who often came to Laren, this walk shows you the houses where the modernist painters used to live over a hundred years ago. At the time, Laren was a tiny, picturesque village with more sheep than painters.
Believe it or not, we hear sheep bleating in the distance during our Liebermannwalk, just like 100 years ago.
This former barn (below) inspired Max Liebermann to paint his famous Flax Barn at Laren in 1887 when men, women and children were still spinning flax inside the barn.
Added a bonus during the Lieberman Walk is the opportunity to take a close look at the magnificent villa’s in Laren, one of the country’s richest villages. Extremely well kept mansions, freshly painted and without a single blade of grass out of place in the lavish gardens. Not an option for starting or struggling artists of today unfortunately.
One more thing about Jan Sluijters’ portrait of his girlfriend Greet van Cooten. When is was first exhibited, it was a bridge too far for some people: too modern, too colorful. And the fact that Sluijters had left his wife and baby for his new girlfriend Greet didn’t help. Is it just me, or does it look like Andy Warhol painting Lady Di?
Singer Laren Oude Drift 1, Laren
Painters of the Light, until January 6th 2021.
About William and Anna Singer: