Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig
"Veith den Veedelaar"
FERDINAND HART NIBBRIG
Amsterdam 1868 - 1915 Laren, N.H.
LEGEND OF VEITH DEN VEEDELAAR
Oil on canvas
100 x 100 cm.
Signed: lower right
Provenance: Amsterdam, Frederik Muller & Co, 1916; Private collection, The Netherlands.
Exhibited: Laren (Singer Museum), 1996 ‘Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig’; Domburg (Toorops Exhibition pavillion), 1912 ‘Tentoonstelling van schilderijen’, July-August.
Literature: Dominique Colen, Denise Willemstein, Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig 1866-1915, Zwolle 1996, p.31; Ineke Spaander, Paul van der Velde, Reünie op het Duin, Mondriaan en tijdgenoten in Zeeland, 1994, p. 135.
Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig
After the academy Hart Nibbrig left for Paris, where he saw the work of Monet and Pisarro. Through his friend Theo van Gogh he got acquainted with the work of his brother Vincent. In July 1889 Nibbrig turned back to the Netherlands, probably for the funeral of his younger sister. He rented the former studio of Jozef Israëls, where he worked for four years, mainly the winters. With his friend Richard Roland Holst he visited the evening classes at the ‘Rijksacademie’. In the summer, Nibbrig went to more rural areas such as Laren and Eemnes. In 1892 he stayed for some months in this area. In Eemnes he shared a studio with Sigisbert Bosch Reitz and R. Roland Holst, where he painted interiors and farmers in brown tones. His colors changed in 1892 (according to J. Gosschalk), when Hart Nibbrig cycled along a bulb field: the colorful fields made such an impression on him that he changed his entire palette. His style also changed: the portraits became more stylistic and the landscape more pointillist.
Between 1911 and 1916, Hart Nibbrig took part in the exhibitions that Jan Toorop organized in his exhibition-pavilion at Domburg, Zeeland (south-west part of the Netherlands). During his stay at Walcheren Hart Nibbrig had found the inspiration for the bright light in his dune landscapes. At the Domburg exhibition of 1912 he sent five works, including the square cloth ‘Veith den Vedelaar’.
Veith den Vedelaar
Models dressed in armor, chain mail suits and jesters came to Hart Nibbrigs ‘Villa Olmenhove’ to pose for his large, brightly colored piece on the medieval ‘erotic’ narrative of author Aart van der Leeuw (1876-1931) in 1906. The story is about the in words and music gifted improvising minstrel St. Veith, a bastard born of a witch and a count, who, on a cloudless summers day assaults a noblewoman and therefore is being sentenced to death. Veith, thrown in the dungeon, but spared the martyrdom, is being led to the gallows. The executioner, dressed as a jester and standing beside the meager blushing noblewoman and her knight, surrounded by soldiers and villagers, wait for the reading of the verdict by the priest. The priest ‘shows’ flashbacks from the wonderful life of the naked youth. Wandering past castles, where he entertained the court with his devilish songs. For Veith den Vedelaar, his last minutes were to come. As a last wish, Veith was handed over his violin and bow. At first, is seems to be a timid tune, but soon the tones became wilder and more intense. The whole group fell under the spell of the ‘Death dance’. Everyone started dancing, and with a quick jump the minstrel leaves the group and is spared from the gallows. Moving away from the dancing people, Veith looks into a mirror, in which he sees the face of his mother. The image unites itself in two contrary main themes in the oeuvre of Hart Nibbrig: his engagement with people and the light, that determines the appearance of the landscape.
Hart Nibbrig used both technique and color. The figures are mainly painted in an impressionist-realistic style, while the landscape is pointillist. In addition, a self-portrait of the artist is found in the lower right corner.