Dwelling Antoon Hermans

In the summer of 1884, Vincent met the wealthy goldsmith Antoon Hermans (1822-1897). He occupied a large building on Keizersgracht, built only four years earlier. The house was designed by Pierre Cuypers, an architect of distinction and friend.

The house still exists, although a white plaster and shutters have been applied and the motto "Rest after labor" above the entrance door has been removed. The wall anchors with the initials of Hermans and his wife Smits still recall the first residents.

When Vincent meets him, he is busy adding painted decorations to his dining room. Vincent tells Theo about this man who 'has put up a house that he has again full of antiques and furnishes with some very nice oak cabinets &c. The ceilings and walls he decorates himself and really well sometimes' . Hermans asks Vincent to create designs that he can repaint himself. Vincent managed to persuade his client not to use saints as the motif, but scenes of Brabant peasant life depicting the seasons.

For his commission, Vincent stayed regularly on the Keizersgracht and Hermans, in turn, visited the studio in Nuenen. At his request, Vincent gave him painting lessons afterwards. Hermans allowed him to borrow objects from his collection of antiques and curiosities in order to copy them; a number of the objects in Vincent's still lifes come from his collection.

"I made this for someone in Eindhoven who wished to decorate a dining room. He wanted to do this with compositions of various saints. I asked him to consider whether six scenes from the peasant life of the Meijerij - also symbolizing the four seasons - would not arouse the appetite of the good people who have to sit at the table there more than the mystic characters mentioned above.
(Vincent to Theo, August 4, 1884)


Keizersgracht 15
5611 GC Eindhoven
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