"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Yesterday, I took a good friend of mine to the Singer Museum in Laren. We wanted to be sure to catch the exhibit Dutch Utopia before it was gone in a couple of weeks. What could be more fun to share a few of our favorites with you here? If you live here in Holland, try and attend this exhibit before it moves on...

The paintings are created by a group of American artists drawn to Holland between 1880-1914 to capture their romanticized vision of "Dutchness". As an American having immigrated to Holland almost 25 years ago, I can see what they saw in my beloved adopted country.

I was pulled into many of the paintings. Purple was so striking in a couple of them including 'Skaters' by Gari Melcher.

Enny and I both loved this and she said that it is my garden this coming summer after I start working on it. 'The Unpretentious Garden' by Gari Melchers.

'The Sisters' by Gari Melchers made us smile. So much so that we made a second round along this among a couple of others. Click on the photos to enlarge them and get a much closer look. The expression in the little sister's face is so sweet.

The strict eye cast at the sleeping woman is pure humor. 'The Sermon' again by Melchers.

Walter MacEwen was obviously inspired by the style of Vermeer visible in the many paintings hanging in the exhibit. You wanted to reach out and place your hand in the pleats of the lady's dress as they were so real in 'The Notary'.

George Hitchcock's 'The Stork's Nest' was very typical Dutch.

Dutchness would be defined as the action of being Dutch. So we did and took a break having a nice lunch in the beautiful museum restaurant. It had started snowing and we sat by this window with our very own romantic view of Dutchness. After our second round along our favorite paintings and a visit to the museum shop, it was time to try and make our way home.

I cleaned my car off and Enny laughed when I got back in the car as the windows were full again before I could get in. We started off but traffic was really bad as we could only drive 10km per hour on the highway. A 20 minute drive took us well over an hour but it was a beautiful drive. The snow turned everything into a romantic winter wonderland. Somehow I think these American painters would have loved to sit and paint that landscape!

Have a very enjoyable weekend and last advent Sunday!


Margaret said...

What a lovely day among all this Dutchness! Wish I could have been there with you to share in all this beauty.

Love your nutcracker heading.

Willy said...

Ik kom toevallig op je blog terecht omdat ik een bekende foto zag van het meisje met de paarse cape.
Wat een leuk verslag van de tentoonstelling. Ik heb er een tijdje terug ook erg van genoten.

Jantine said...

Those paintings sure look very beautiful! I am afraid it is too far away for me, so thanks for sharing!

Deborah said...

What a wonderful display of "Dutchness". The snow scene was beautiful. Glad that you made it home safely. Merry Christmas. Deborah

Simple Home said...

What beautiful paintings. I'd have loved to have gone there with you too! Is that your house in the last photo? Enny was right, your garden will be beautiful this summer, but it looks very pretty covered in snow too :-)

Brigitte said...

This must be a fantastic exhibition. I loved the pictures you shared, they show a lot of the painters' feelings towards Holland and its nature and culture. I particularly am fond of the two sisters, and the garden painting, of course.

Elizabethd said...

What beautiful paintings Heidi.

Jenny said...

I absolutely love this post Heidi and all things "Dutchness". I would love to be there and see it all in person, but since California is a little to far away I will enjoy it on your blog. Thank you for sharing. I love all the paintings, but my favorites are "The Skaters", "The Garden" and "The Sisters". "The Skaters" remind me of one of my favorite childhood books, Hans Brinker, maybe I will have to pull it off my shelf and have a good read later tonight...grins... I loved the snow too....beautiful....but I don't envy you the driving....grins...Take care my friend and here is a hug from a very wet California.

Nancy said...

The paintings were so pretty. The little sister is youuuuuu. I can see why you wanted to go back through again.
Glad you had a nice lunch and got home safe.
Love Mom

angelasweby said...

Wow Heidi, what a wonderful exhibition. I was entranced by the paintings you showed us. I love the style and the story each painting told. The view form the window while you were lunching was magical. Glad you had a safe drive home after such an enjoyable day :>)
Angela xx

onlymehere said...

Oh no, not Murphy again! I was hoping that he'd moved on to others after the mess he's made for you. I hope this time it was just a little nuisance though and not like his other tricks.

I do enjoy these grandbabies. One of Savannah's favorite things is to jump off that love seat into the bean bag chair. I don't know if you noticed but her hair is vertical bz she's on the way down from a jump. Kaje' does keep me in stitches. She was sooooooooo hungry and the hot fudge was much thinner than usual (I don't know why it didn't thicken). Since it's in a bowl in the fridge she thought it was leftover gravy!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday. This final picture was a beautiful winter scene and you're right, I think the painters would have loved to paint it!

Tracy said...

Oh, I enjoyed this post so much, Heidi... and all of these beautiful works of art...*swoon*...Winter Solstice today, and it is snowing here. Just catching up on your recent posts... I still have baking to do as a big one on my to-do list, but most is done. We have a good many gatherings & get-togethers in the next days, so visiting friends early this week in blogland. I hope to post again before the holiday break :o) Hoping you & yours have the happiest holiday season & wishing you all the best in 2011! ((HUGS))

Roberta said...

What a beautiful exhibit of paintings - so realistic and touching.

Love the snow - there is nothing here!! oh well.

Wishing you, Jos and Dagi a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

Vicki said...

I'm seeing this post nearly a year after you wrote it! I had bought the big, hardcover book on this Dutch Utopian exhibit in the past year or so; I haven't cracked it open yet because of storage/house remodeling but I had thought it to be more extensive than a museum exhibition catalog but it obviously must follow as a source book as, after all, it's put out by the Telfair Museum of Art. (It's one of my most expensive books...so many art catalogue/books are...but I just "had" to have it as "Dutchness" is in my genes from Grandpa in Friesland.) The (Amazon) book description says, "Dutch Utopia is the first major exhibition to explore the little-known but fascinating phenomenon of American artists settling or working in Holland around the turn of the twentieth century and to consider the cultural significance of their production. These artists created visions of Dutch society that celebrated a preindustrial lifestyle and, in some cases, alluded to America's own colonial Dutch heritage." The book is entitled, "Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland, 1880-1914." It has four 5-star reviews on Amazon; apparently people have loved the paintings as you did!