Dutch artist Evert Moll could often be seen painting upon the precipice of the ports of his hometown of Rotterdam, capturing the overlap of nature and human life.
Moll was a self-taught artist, although he was closely connected to artistic life in Rotterdam. Indeed, his friendship with Albert Roelofs (1877-1920) proved very influential to Moll as a young artist. Roelofs was part of The Hague School, a collective of artists active in The Hague, a city sited very close to Rotterdam.
This group of artists had a great interest in naturalist depictions of the world around them, taking inspiration from the Barbizon School in France. They rejected the classical and mythological obsession of academic art and focussed on capturing their immediate surroundings in the moment, often painting outside. Atmosphere became to them the key tenet of their artistic mission.
Moll painted in line with The Hague School’s beliefs. His many views of the Rotterdam ports are set alight with life through his quick, spontaneous brushwork, which mixes his colour palette together in a harmonious cacophony. He invokes the mood of the weather and churns it together with the life of the city, smoggy plumes of smoke rising from ships often intermingling with the turgid clouds roiling above. The water mirrors the buildings and boats which dominate the space, whilst at the same time possessing them and transfiguring their reflection to be wrinkled upon its crest, bent to its will. Combined with an astute eye for enough detail to allow his works to establish themselves in a time and place, Moll captures both mood and moment.
Moll was often seen working in situ, using his painting box as a table. That so many of his works are the same size, to fit this pseudo surface, speaks even more to the immediacy of his work.
As his career progressed, Moll’s reputation grew. He became an established member of art life in both Rotterdam and The Hague. This culminated in membership to the Pulchri Studio, set up to encourage the arts in The Hague and with many on its committee also being members of The Hague School.
Despite living and working for a time in other places, such as London, Moll’s remaining oeuvre reflects his passion for his homeland and defines much of his reputation. With their vigorous colouring and sense of life, these works both document and define life in Rotterdam in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Born in Voorbug, Netherlands.
Lived and worked in Rijswijk, Netherlands.
Lived and worked in London, Britain.
Lived and worked in The Hague, Netherlands.
Died in The Hague, Netherlands.