The invention of the paint tube in England in 1841 enabled artists to transport their paint without it drying out. This made it easier to work outdoors, and plein-air painting became extremely popular. Artists like Gabriël, however, regarded the small, roughly painted studies they executed outdoors as belonging to a different category from their larger, more worked-up canvases. Large paintings, such as the Polder with Mills, were mostly made in the studio, on the basis of sketches and studies.

One of the lesser-known masters of the Hague School, Gabriël paid close attention to his compositions, as can be seen in this sweeping polder landscape. An overcast sky, threatening rain, looms over a row of neatly ranked windmills. Though the colours are muted, Gabriël’s palette included a wide spectrum of greys and greens. In his eyes, every landscape was full of colour. ‘The more I observe, the more colourful and transparent the world of nature appears to be. And taking in the sky as well, it all looks totally different, but still in harmony. It’s wonderful when one learns to see—for that too has to be learnt. I shall say it again: our country is not grey, not even in grey weather.’


  • Title: Polder with Mills near Overschie
  • Creator Lifespan: 1828 - 1903
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: The Hague, the Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Date Created: 1898
  • Style/Theme: The Hague School / Landscape
  • Physical Dimensions: w1020 x h660 cm (Without frame)
  • Painter: Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël
  • Original Title: Landschap bij Overschie
  • Artist Information: Paul Gabriël was the eldest son of the sculptor Paul Joseph Gabriël. He first studied at the Amsterdam academy and then at the drawing academy of the landscape artist Barend Koekkoek in the German town of Cleve. From 1853 to 1856, he lived in the village of Oosterbeek, near Arnhem. Together with artist friends such as Anton Mauve and Gerard Bilders, he concentrated on nature studies. Gabriël arrived via Amsterdam in Brussels, here he received support and advice from Willem Roelofs and gave lessons to Willem Bastiaan Tholen. A number of years later, Gabriël moved to Scheveningen and there he frequently painted in the open air. Gabriël is one of the few masters of the Hague School who showed signs of the new industrial age, such as factories and trains, in his paintings. His use of vivid colours is also exceptional within the Hague School.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Donated by the Vereniging van Voorstanders der Kunst 1898, http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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