Lot 31
  • 31

Emile Claus

50,000 - 70,000 USD
62,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Emile Claus
  • Le Saule
  • signed Em. Claus (lower left); inscribed Junij / J.D / E.C. (on the reverse)
  • oil on canvas


Collection of Katherine Roelker Wulsin, Paris (possibly 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 was not 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). 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, as illustrated by the present work of 1904, 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.