Breitner was the most important chronicler of Amsterdam street life in the late nineteenth century. He portrayed the dynamic, rapidly growing city in paintings, drawings and photographs. In the early 1890s, after a period of illness, he produced a series of relatively subdued paintings, revealing a different side to his personality. They are depictions of girls and young women in Japanese kimonos. Most are shown seated or reclining on a sofa. Here, however, the woman—a slender, elongated, elegant figure—stands before a mirror and adjusts her earring. On the left is an Oriental screen. The series was inspired by the Japanese prints that were in vogue at the time—Breitner himself had a number of them in his collection. The woman who modelled for this painting, Geesje Kwak, can also be seen in other works by Breitner. The museum has nine paintings and twenty–two drawings from his hand. Among them is a black chalk sketch that he made as a study for this painting. Though it is now known as The Earring, Breitner himself called it At the Mirror.


  • Title: The Earring
  • Creator Lifespan: 1857 - 1923
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Date Created: 1893
  • Style/Theme: Impressionism / Portrait
  • Physical Dimensions: w575 x h845 cm (Without frame)
  • Painter: George Hendrik Breitner
  • Original Title: Het oorringetje
  • More Info: Link - Read more about The Hague School - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen - http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • Artist Information: George Hendrik Breitner mainly became famous with his paintings of Amsterdam street life. He studied at various academies, including the Hague Academy, the Polytechnic in Delft, the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam and the Académie Cormon in Paris. In Paris, Breitner came into contact with impressionism. He called his work the opposite to that of Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh made use of bright colours to express the contrasts in his own moods, while Breitner wanted to show pure, naked reality. Breitner travelled frequently, including a trip in 1909 to Philadelphia and New York.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Lent by Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1952 (donated by W.H. de Monchy and Erasmusstichting), http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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