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Charley Toorop

Beemster, Flowering Tree, 1943

As of 1935, Charley Toorop (1891-1955) initiated a tradition in her free work: she made one or more paintings of fruit trees every year. This is something that Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), whom she greatly admired, had also done in Arles and Saint-Rémy in the south of France. In spring she painted ... the blossom and in autumn she recorded how the trees slowly lose their fruit and leaves. She loved painting in the orchards near her home in Bergen. These independent works distinguish themselves from her (portrait) commissions by their bright colours and the great degree of spontaneity in her painting style. The looser brushstroke suggests that she was able to express her love for the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. She herself said of her blossom trees: ‘I just improvise. I do it every spring.’ During the Second World War Charley Toorop refused to become a member of the Kultuurkamer (Chamber of Culture). One of the consequences of this was that she was officially prohibited from exhibiting or selling her work. To avoid getting into trouble, she would sometimes antedate her works. For instance, she painted this flowering tree in 1943, but on the back of it we read ‘1940.’ Text: Myrthe Wesseling, guide and museum host
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Charley Toorop
Beemster, Flowering Tree
Oil on canvas
76 x 105 cm (h x w)
Type of object
© Pictoright

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