Cornelis van Spaendonck, Koolroos, 1800. Het Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch

The Smell of Success

Gerard & Cornelis van Spaendonck, Painters of Flowers in Paris

26 April to 25 August 2019

Brabant brothers Gerard (Tilburg, 1746 – Paris, 1822) and Cornelis (Tilburg, 1756 – Paris, 1839) van Spaendonck learnt the painter's trade in Antwerp. From there, Gerard - followed later by his brother Cornelis - departed for Paris, where the two soon made careers painting flowers.

Art historians have discovered that both artists held prominent positions within the Paris art scene around the year 1800. This recent revaluation has prompted Het Noordbrabants Museum to present their work in a wider historical context.


  • Cornelis van Spaendonck, Koolroos, 1800. Het Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch
  • foto Joep Jacobs
  • Gerard van Spaendonck, Bloemen in een albasten vaas en vruchten op marmeren blad, 1781. Het Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch
  • foto Joep Jacobs
  • foto Joep Jacobs

A historical and artistic revolution

TulpThe exhibition displays still lifes of flowers, miniatures on snuff boxes, engravings with botanical studies, letters and portraits by both brothers from collections in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. With over 30 objects from its collection, Het Noordbrabants Museum possesses the largest collection of pieces by the Van Spaendonck brothers in the Netherlands. The exhibition is enhanced with historical objects relating to the eventful period in which they lived, such as a guillotine for example. Travel back in time to the French Revolution, where the two brothers blossomed into the biggest flower painters of Dutch descent amidst the chaos happening in Paris.


Geur Van Succes 3D Small ImageThe exhibition The Smell of Success will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue written by curator Paul Huys Janssen. A publication from Uitgeverij WBOOKS in Zwolle, the catalogue (€24,95) will be available at the MuseumShop and bookstores from 26 April 2019. The catalogue tells the story of the two van Spaendonck brothers and their respective careers in the Beau Monde of Paris. How they worked for both King Louis XVI as well as Napoleon Bonaparte, and eventually occupied an influential position in the Parisian artscene. 

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Tickets for the exhibition The smell of Success can be bought at the museum register or via the online ticketshop. It is not necessary to reserve tickets prior to your museum visit.
With a Museum Card or another discount card you can walk straight to the admission control.


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See also

Story of Brabant

Vincent van Gogh & Hieronymus Bosch
Always on show

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