On 4 March, the exhibition Jan Giesen: Scheveningen Works (1920-1930) opens at Panorama Mesdag.
The haggard faces of labourers, a sunset in the dunes, and a stranded German cruiser: to the Hague artist Jan Giesen (1900–1983), Scheveningen and Kijkduin provided an endless source of inspiration in the 1920s. He made countless images of workers chopping, hauling, and digging, such as the nine impressive portraits he produced in 1927, reinforcing longitudinal embankments in the province of South Holland. Their weather-beaten faces reflect the strenuous work they were carrying out in the development of the resort.
For this series, Giesen undoubtedly drew inspiration from Jan Toorop, whose portraits in this period were seen as the Netherlands’ best. Contemporaries too were apt to make this comparison. Yet while Toorop’s human figures often possess a certain intangibility, Giesen gave ‘his’ men substance and humanity. They stand quite literally with their feet in the sand.
This series is exhibited here in a museum context for the first time since 1939.