Painters of the Dune and Bulb Region: an international survey

Published by WBooks, based in Zwolle, The Netherlands and written by Werner van den Belt, art historian and former director-curator of Museum De Zwarte Tulp in Lisse and Bob Hardus, journalist and great fan of the French Impressionists, the book ‘De schilders van de Duin- en Bollenstreek’ is the first to describe the history of the bulb field in art up to the present day. Where do the bulb fields come from? How did they develop and why in particular in the Dune and Bulb Region? And why the fascination of foreign artists in particular to depict the annual explosion of colors in spring with paint or a photo camera? Never before has this subject been written so extensively and substantively. The painters of the Dune and Bulb region marks 500 years of art history. The richly illustrated book features a great diversity of paintings.

The region called ‘Duin- en Bollenstreek’ is referred to as the garden of Amsterdam and it has an almost magical appeal: the flower fields. Every year, more than a million tourists visit Keukenhof in Lisse, the landscape park where, on the initiative of growers and exporters, spring-flowering flower bulbs have been displayed since 1950. The flower fields are among the most characteristic landscapes in the Netherlands. The bright colors, the lines and the promise of a new spring inspired artists to work of great beauty.

Claude Monet loved it. He complained that his palette was not sufficient to paint the bulbs properly. Vincent van Gogh preceded him, Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig and the American artist George Hitchcock followed soon after. The Dutch painter Anton Koster even made it his specialty and was called Anton Tulp by his friends. Recent work by Daniel Burenen Andreas Gursky shows that interest in the bulb landscape is still very much alive.

“According to Boudewijn Bakker, a visit to flower bulb fields was an absolute must for the foreign traveler at the time of Monet’s first trip to the Netherlands. The international travel guides spoke of the bulb fields “displaying their multicolored beauties”. Others spoke of “famous plantations,” “beautiful gardens,” or even “those rich lands of tulips and hyacinths, spread out in the wide field … like a scarf from India or Kashmir.” He quotes here, among other things, from Beadeker’s Belgique et Hollande, Manuel du Voyageur from 1866. ” – from The Painters of the Dune and Bulb Region.

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