Gesloten, morgen weer open vanaf 11:00

The Witch of Dongen | Dongen Revisited

The Witch of Dongen | Dongen Revisited

The Witch of Dongen | Dongen Revisited

First major exhibition of one of the earliest 19th century artists’ villages, including a current retrospective

October 12, 2019 - January 26, 2020

• Featuring works on loan from the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Mauritshuis and international collections. 

• Including the painting by Jozef Israëls that inspired Van Gogh to paint De Aardappeleters (The potato eaters).


Two works from the exhibition:
Peasant girl at the well, a key work by August Allebé from 1869 (Collection Stedelijk Museum Breda) and Study in Green # 8
by Ruud van Empel from 2003.

On October 12, Stedelijk Museum Breda, in collaboration with the Van GoghHuis, will be presenting The Witch of Dongen, the first major retrospective to feature the group of painters that worked in the village of Dongen. For the first time ever, more than 100 works created in and around Dongen in the 19th century have been brought together. Together, they tell the fascinating story of one of the earliest artists
villages in the Netherlands. In Dongen Revisited, ten contemporary artists reflect on the work of their 19th-century colleagues.

Artists discover Dongen
In the 19th century, renowned artists including August Allebé, Jozef Israëls, Max Liebermann and Suze Robertson would regularly visit Dongen, near the city of Breda in the province of Brabant. At the time, the village remained unaffected by the new era. Below the Netherland’s great rivers, artists found an environment similar to that depicted in the work of Golden Age painters. Dongen soon became one of the earliest artists’ villages in the Netherlands. The artists drew and painted the romantic landscape, the farms and their residents, and artisans such as weavers, shoemakers and lacemakers. Their work became particularly popular in a short time and inspired other artists. 

Van Gogh’s inspiration
Motifs in paintings by the Dongen artists were also a source of inspiration for Vincent van Gogh. He, too, featured subjects such as farmers and weavers in his work. For The Potato Eaters, Van Gogh was inspired by Peasant family at the table, a painting Jozef Israëls made in Dongen. In an 1882 letter to his brother Theo, Vincent wrote that he was deeply struck by the atmosphere, the poverty and the emotion that emanated from the canvas. The Van Gogh Museum has given masterpiece by Jozef Israëls on loan to Stedelijk Museum Breda especially for the exhibition.

Jozef Israëls,
Peasant family at the table (detail), 1882, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Dongen Revisited: current perspective
How does the work by the Dongen artists relate to the world of today? In Dongen Revisited, ten artists answer this question from their own perspective. They demonstrate how themes from the 19th century are still current. Featuring work by: Patrick van Caeckenbergh, Tessa Chaplin, Ruud van Empel, Ingeborg Entrop, Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries, Dirk Kome, Anna Lange, Abdol Motavassel, Olphaert den Otter and Marenne Welten.

Alongside Van Gogh
– Suze Robertson & Marenne Welten
As part of The Witch of Dongen, the exhibition Suze Robertson & Marenne Welten Alongside Van Gogh can be seen at the Vincent van GoghHuis in Zundert. The subjects and painting style of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporary Suze Robertson - known as ‘the female Van Gogh’ - show a special relationship. Stedelijk Museum Breda is exhibiting a number of works she painted in Dongen, whereas the emphasis at the Van GoghHuis is on her work from Etten-Leur. The art of Suze Robertson is shown in relation to that of contemporary artist Marenne Welten.

Two publications will appear alongside the exhibition: the richly illustrated book De Schilders van Dongen (The Painters of Dongen) in the WBOOKS series on artists’ villages in the Netherlands and Dongen Revisited, an edition published by Stedelijk Museum Breda.


The Witch of Dongen
From its own collection, Stedelijk Museum Breda is exhibiting the 1880 masterpiece The spinster in Dongen by Max Liebermann. The woman at the spinning wheel is Pietje Verhoef, an elderly farmer’s wife, who became a popular painter’s model. The artists would frequently portray her, bent over her handiwork, carrying twigs, as a fortune teller or as a sorceress. As ‘the witch of Dongen’ she came to personify Dongen.

Press preview Thursday October 10, 2019, 11:00 – 13:30
On Thursday October 10, press are invited to attend an introduction and preview of the exhibition, which opens to the public on October 12. The preview starts at 11 a.m. with an introduction to the exhibition and a tour. The managing director of Stedelijk Museum Breda, the curators of the exhibition and the participating artists will be present during the preview. After lunch, there will be possibilities to conduct interviews.

Apply by email at or phone on 076 529 9907 / 
+31 (0)6 815 22560.

More information:
The Witch of Dongen An artistsvillage in the 19th century
Dongen Revisited – A current perspective
Suze Robertson & Marenne Welten – Alongside Van Gogh


Stedelijk Museum Breda
Stedelijk Museum Breda is the youngest city museum in the Netherlands. The museum is an ideal starting point for anyone who would like to experience and discover the history and art of Breda and its surroundings. In addition to masterpieces from the permanent collection, we also offer ever-changing exhibitions focusing on artists, current themes or historical subjects. We also pay special attention to digital culture. This surprising versatility makes Stedelijk Museum Breda attractive to a broad and national audience.

Vincent van GoghHuis
The Vincent van GoghHuis in Zundert is a living art centre in the birthplace of one of the most famous artists in history. Not a museum in the traditional sense, but an active world of experience for art lovers as well as tourists. The permanent presentation Vincent van Gogh - De wortels van een meester  (The roots of a master) are the prelude to temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century artists inspired by Vincent van Gogh.

Note to the editor
For more information please contact Stedelijk Museum Breda, email:, telephone: +31 (0)76 529 9907.