Pieter Josselin De Jong (1861-1906) was an internationally acclaimed artist who held a prominent position in the Hague art world.
De Jong was a versatile artist and technically gifted. He had a masterful eye for original subjects and was dedicated to the impartial, yet sympathetic portrayal of the lives of ordinary people in rural communities.
The French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage was considered to be the leading painter of the Naturalist School in France. His work captivated a generation of painters internationally, at the time eclipsing the popularity of his impressionist counterparts. Naturalism so-called was primarily a French movement, and most of the works now seen as quintessential examples of the genre were produced by artists based in France.
In around 1860, a group of Dutch artists, inspired by their French peers, formed a collective based in Oosterbeek, in the rural south of the country. Like the Barbizon, Norwich, and Hudson River schools, this group focused on the landscape of their local region, and their activities drew a number of pilgrims to the area.
From the late 1860s onwards, this group gradually migrated to The Hague on the Dutch coast, many of them also visiting Fontainebleau to learn from the Barbizon painters and to make works of their own in response to the French countryside. Other key members of The Hague School – first defined in 1875 by the critic Jacob van Santen Kolff – include Johannes Bosboom, Johan Henrik Weissenbruch, Jozef Israëls, and Henrik Willem Mesdaz. The group became known for a more muted color-palette than that of the Barbizon painters, and for the influence which they drew from Dutch and Flemish Golden Age painters.