Wybrand Hendriks was here! — Teylers Museum

Wybrand Hendriks was here!

Artist/curator/keeper/conservator /administrator/art collector and dealer/networker

Sep 23, 2023 to Jan 07, 2024

No other artist is as closely associated with Teylers Museum as Wybrand Hendriks (1744-1831). At the end of the eighteenth century, he lived in the Pieter Teyler House and was responsible for running the newly opened Teylers Museum. As the director of the art collection, he enriched it with phenomenal drawings by masters like Rembrandt and Michelangelo. More than that, however, he was one of the most important artists of his own time. Discover his imaginative, multifaceted work in the retrospective exhibition Wybrand Hendriks was here!, at Teylers Museum from 23 September until 7 January.

Resident of the Pieter Teyler House
Teylers Museum opened in 1784, at which time it consisted only of the Oval Room, which was attached to the former home of Haarlem businessman Pieter Teyler (1702-1778). In his will, Teyler specified that his money should be put towards, among other things, encouraging the arts and sciences. His house should be associated with the museum forever. In 1785, Wybrand Hendriks was hired as its ‘keeper’: manager and resident of the Pieter Teyler House. In addition, he was responsible for the museum’s art collection. Besides his duties as keeper, curator, conservator, art collector and dealer, he had his studio in the house. It was here he created drawings and paintings in across genres.

Wybrand Hendriks (1744-1831), The Oval Room at Teylers Museum, 1802-1820.
Teylers Museum, Haarlem (gift of H.J.D.D. Enschedé, LLM, 1897)

Rich and poor
Wybrand Hendriks was among the most important artists of his day. He lived during a turbulent period of economic decline, political upheaval and cultural reform. Due to his employment at Teylers Museum, Hendriks was not dependent on income from his drawings and paintings, and could work freely. This made his oeuvre more varied than that of his contemporaries. He painted and drew in all possible genres: from distinctive – almost caricatural – portraits, accurate still lifes and detailed genre pieces to cityscapes and landscapes with a refreshing, direct and more casual touch. Hendriks took his subjects from his immediate surroundings, like the House itself and the city of Haarlem. He was politically active and depicted not just the wealthy citizens of Haarlem, but the poor ones, too. With impressive realism, he made daily life of his time tangible. He also worked after the example of the Old Masters. He collected their drawings for the museum.  

Wybrand Hendriks (1744-1831), Celebration at the Market Square in Haarlem, 1825. Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (on long-term loan to the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede)

Wybrand Hendriks was here! demonstrates Hendriks’ versatility in all its glory. The many works by him in the collection of Teylers Museum are supplemented, in this exhibition, with works on loan from the Rijksmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, the Noord-Hollands Archief, the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris and several private collections. How Hendriks was inspired by, among others, Frans Hals and Adriaan van Ostade becomes clear in the Prints and Drawings Room.

Wybrand Hendriks (1744-1831), Portrait of Jacob Feitama and his Wife, Elisabeth de Haan, 1790. Mauritshuis, The Hague.