Jan Veth’s Eye

Painter and critic around 1900

Dordrechts Museum
Until September 3, 2023

The first major retrospective about the Dordrecht-born painter and art critic Jan Veth (1864-1925).

Jan Veth was a versatile man. He was one of the most esteemed portrait painters and most respected art critics of his time. He entered the heart of the Dutch art world around 1900. Veth painted countless portraits and was a gifted printmaker. He wrote about the visual arts, he was a poet and a pioneer in the field of monument preservation.

Veth can rightly be called a contemplative spirit. Someone who observed the art and the people around him and captured it in great detail. Jan Veth brought his models to life on canvas in striking, realistic and moving portraits.
That sharp eye is not limited to his own art. His intelligent and razor-sharp opinion of the art of others set the tone in art history and his commitment to the public art heritage remains to this day. Veth was one of the first in the Netherlands to recognize the talent of Vincent van Gogh, praised the work of Breitner and Jan Toorop and, as a great Rembrandt connoisseur, stood at the cradle of the Rembrandt House Museum.

The exhibition also tells about the man behind the art. Letters and writings bring the spiritual world of this impressive artist to life. This gives us a unique insight: through the eye of the artist himself. An artist that too few people know about, but whose legacy is still visible today and in a surprising number of places.


This richly illustrated book presents Jan Veth as a driven avant-garde artist, a renowned portrait painter and a passionate advocate of art. In nine essays and on the basis of many letters and writings, the reader gets a personal insight into the life of this influential painter-writer. A life dedicated to the arts.

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