Around 1870, Jozef Israëls was one of the first artists to visit Laren. He drew the attention of his fellow artists from the Hague School to the landscape of Laren and its surroundings. At the end of the 19th century, the village was also discovered by, among others, Hendrik Kever, Albert Neuhuys, Wally Moes, Jan Veth and Anton Mauve. Especially the work of Mauve and Neuhuys was already known when they settled in Laren and the arrival of these two big names increased the interest in the village even further. The Laren painters were mainly landscape and genre painters (peasant interiors and figures). Mauve and Neuhuys were the main exponents of this. Neuhuys' style in particular determined Larense or Gooi interior art. Mauve only painted in Laren for six years, but his name is still linked to the region that is also called 'The Land of Mauve'. Mauve painted his landscapes, the moors and the shepherds with broad strokes and gray colors, which clearly showed his relationship with the Hague School. Although Mauve was seen as the most important Gooi landscape painter, his influence was not so great that a specific Gooi landscape art was created.
An important meeting place for the various painters was the Hotel Hamdorff. Here the artists met in Het Kroegje, where they sat together around 'the painting table'. The hotelier Jan Hamdorff had a good relationship with the artists. He looked for buyers for their work and when they could not pay the bill he made them pay in paintings and drawings. Hamdorff thus turned out to be an active art dealer.
The group of painters who settled in Laren around 1900 was called the second generation of Laren painters. They included painters such as Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig, David Schulman and Co Breman. Hart Nibbrig and Breman distinguished themselves from the other - impressionist - painters by their pointillist (applying the paint in dots next to each other) and luminist (displaying the sensation of light, so not necessarily realistic) landscapes.
After 1900, more and more artists settled who no longer had Laren and its surroundings as a direct source of inspiration. For example, modernists such as Jan Sluijters, Piet Mondriaan and Leo Gestel who came to work in Laren were very different in style and ideology from the Laren painters. From the 1930s on, Laren's heyday as an art center was over.