As a young artist Jan Toorop settles in Brussels, where he becomes a member of the art society Les Vingt. The artists of this avant-garde group have an aversion to the academic rules and seek innovation. Toorop makes several trips to England, where he becomes influenced by the work of William Turner, the ‘painter of light’, and the impressionist James Whistler. But he is also deeply affected by the poverty and poor living conditions of the working class in London.

Social theme

Flower market in London shows the life of the workers at the market. Toorop depicts this social theme in an impressionist manner. With his palette knife he renders the atmosphere, the light and colours in bold, expressive strokes.


The depth effect is also striking. The more distant figures are not rendered, as is customary, in increasingly lighter colours. Toorop depicts them smaller, but uses the same palette as the figures in the foreground. In this way he aims to make the observer more involved with the people at the flower market.