Lot 46
  • 46

Emile Claus

Estimate
150,000 - 200,000 USD
Sold
281,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Emile Claus
  • Landscape with Pond and Blooms
  • signed Emile Claus (lower left); inscribed Oktober/ B. K./ E. C. on the reverse
  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Charles Good, Belgium (acquired directly from the artist)
Thence by descent

Catalogue Note

Emile Claus was born in Vive-Saint-Eloi, Belgium, to a working family of limited means and a limited appreciation of their child’s artistic ambitions. He was forbidden from pursuing his painting talents from a young age and became a baker’s apprentice. After his quick dismissal from this vocation, he then became a construction supervisor on the railways, and later a linseed merchant. It wasn’t until the famous musician, Peter Benoit, persuaded Claus’ father to not let his son’s talents go to waste that he enrolled him in the Antwerp Academy for Fine Art (Mart Bierme, “Emile Claus,” The International Studio, November, 1915, vol. 57, no. 226, p. 80). Exhibitions and admiration found Claus quickly and he gained a reputation as a landscape artist, tending towards the naturalistic style.

From 1883, Claus painted at Astene, near Deinze, on the banks of the river Lys in an old hunting pavilion which he later turned into his home, Zonneschijn (Sunshine) (fig. 1). It was here that he turned to plein air painting under the influence of Claude Lemonnier, who encouraged him to break free from academic constraints and to temper his naturalism with a more colorful and luminous palette. Claus spent winters in Paris from 1889 through 1891 and developed lasting friendships with Impressionist painters such as Henri  Martin, Henri Le Sidaner and Anders Zorn. This would have a significant impact on his painterly style, just as travel through Spain and North Africa would impact his color palette, and laid the foundation for Claus’s connection to neo-Impressionism and Zonneschijn’s centrality to the Flemish school of Luminist painters.

The present work was likely painted on the banks of the Lys and is a brilliant example of Claus’ ongoing fascination with the properties of light and perception. The landscape above the horizon line that bisects the canvas is cleverly reflected below, creating a graphic, stacked composition. The foreground is ripe with texture and color and the atmosphere created by the morning mist sweeps across every element of the scene, obscuring the vista beyond.

This painting was originally owned by Charles Good, a prominent businessman in Antwerp. His magnificent home featured a collection of fine and decorative art that has been passed down through multiple generations of his family (fig 2).

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