About the artwork
About the ArtistSara de Swart was a Dutch artist, patroness and important figure in the art world from Arnhem. Sara was homeschooled most of her life and was taught literature, languages, art and music. She was the daughter of artist Corstianus Hendrikus de Swart, which led to her application to the Academy of Applied Arts in Amsterdam in 1887 where she was taught sculpting by Lambertus Zijl. De Swart went to Paris to be tutored by Auguste Rodin shortly after. In Paris, she met Vincent van Gogh and Olillon Redon. Back in Amsterdam she soon became an important figure in the Amsterdam art scene and nightlife, using the money she inherited from her mother to support artists and their art in Amsterdam, which led to close relationships with painters such as Breitner, Veth, Willem Kloos, Alphons Diepenbrock and Willem Witsen (Muze der Tachtigers). She supported them by buying their art, financially supporting them in other ways. The idea rises that her being a patroness was evenly important to her as being an artist. De Swart was open about her being a Lesbian to the frustration of her adorers. She organised an exposition with the works of Odilon Redon in 1894 together with Jan Veth.
In 1894, Sara de Swart and her girlfriend moved in to an appartment in Amsterdam at the Oosterpark, later called the ‘Willem Witsen’ house. This became a center for artists during that period. Their downstairs neighbours were respectively painter Isaac Israëls and feminist Annette Versluys-Poelman.
Between 1898 en 1914, Sara de Swart and her lifepartner Emilie van Kerckhoff, moved to villa De Hoeve in Laren. They received visitations from important figures in the art world such as Emile Bernard, Gustav Mahler and Lodewijk van Deyssel. It is known that Sara de Swart had quite the art collection, containing works from Jan Toorop, Breitner, Rodin and Redon. Emilie and Sara traveled often to countries such as Japan, India, Egypt and Indonesia. When she ran out of money in 1914, Sara sold her house and moved to Capri, Italy. She sould stay there for the rest of her life.
While little of the works Sara de Swart exist to this day, her works can be seen in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem and the Kroller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.