Emile Claus

Belgium / 1849 - 1924 / wikipedia
Emile Claus (27 September 1849 – 14 June 1924) was a Belgian painter.

Emile Claus was born on 27 September 1849, in Sint-Eloois-Vijve, a village in West-Flanders (Belgium), at the banks of the river Lys. Emile was the twelfth child in a family of 13. Father Alexander was a grocer-publican and for some time town councillor. Mother Celestine Verbauwhede came from a Brabant skipper’s family and had her hands full with her offspring.

As a child, Emile already loved drawing and on Sunday walked 3 kilometres to the Academy of Waregem (the neighbouring town) to learn how to draw. He graduated from the Academy with a gold medal. Although father Claus allowed him to take drawing classes, he did not fancy an artist's career for his son. Instead, he sent Emile as a baker’s apprentice to Lille (France). Emile learned French there but the job of a baker clearly did not appeal to him. He also worked for some time with the Belgian Railways and as a representative in the flax trade.

....During his years in Antwerp, Claus mainly painted portraits and realistic, anecdotal genre pieces.

Stimulated by his friend, the author Camille Lemonnier, and influenced by the French impressionists, like Claude Monet whose works he got to know during his trips to Paris in the 1890s, Claus gradually shifted from naturalistic realism to a very personal style of impressionism called 'luminism', because of the luminous palette he used.

His paintings The Beet Harvest (1890) and The Ice Birds (1891) represent important turning points in this evolution.

The Beet Harvest shows farmers harvesting sugar beets, hacking them out of the frozen field. The painting is gigantic in size and hangs at the Museum of Deinze and de Leiestreek in Deinze, Belgium. Claus never sold it and after his death, his widow donated it to the city of Deinze on the condition they built a museum to exhibit it. The painting can now indeed be found at the Museum van Deinze en de... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emile_Claus)
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Suzan Hamer


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