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Lunchtime at the Building Site on the Van Diemenstraat in Amsterdam

When the North Sea Canal was finished in 1876, the Amsterdam IJ became navigable for large oceanliners. New streets with warehouses – such as the Van Die-menstraat seen in this painting – were built along the banks of the canal. Breitner depicted construction workers on their lunch break, seen from the back. They are painted with the same rough, angular volumes as the planks on which they sit and …