It was at the Art Academy in The Hague that Breitner learned life drawing but he totally rejected the Academy’s classical ideals. It expected ‘… me [Breitner] to turn every Dutchman into a handsome Greek. Yes, really! But I wasn’t going to do that. I told them, “My business is only with the fellow you put in front of me. Not with what might perhaps be beautiful!” ' Breitner’s nudes are therefore distinctively realistic and unidealised in style. Although about a dozen Breitner oil paintings of nudes are known to survive, he probably painted far more. He is known to have painted other pictures over at least two such canvases.
Source: R. Bergsma, P. Hefting (eds.), George Hendrik Breitner 1857-1923, Amsterdam 1994.