Emile Claus and Rural Life – Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent






Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent [Belgium]



Emile Claus and Rural Life
21 March > 21 June 2009




The Museum of Fine Arts will presents the exhibition ‘Emile Claus and Rural Life’. Like the ‘British Vision’ exhibition in 2007-2008, which was well received by the press and the general public, the Claus project also ties in with the museum’s exhibition policy which centres, among other things, on aspects of Belgian art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries



Emile Claus


Emile Clause 1849 – 1924
De oude tuinman / Le vieux jardinier, ca 1886
olievierf op doek, 214 x 138>
Luik, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art conetmporain
© MAMAK, Luik





Emile Claus was the most important representative of Impressionism in Belgium. He admired French Impressionism and applied this style to his realistic portrayal of the countryside around Ghent that he knew so well. Claus was venerated by contemporary authors and painters. Nowadays, his optimistic and sunny art is still popular among the general public. This exhibition gathers Emile Claus’s best works and highlights the central themes in his oeuvre: the agricultural workers, agricultural labour, village life, life along the river and the pure landscape. His work is confronted with that of Belgian contemporaries such as Alfred William Finch, Léon Frederic, Constant Permeke, Constantin Meunier and Henry Van de Velde.

Claus’s success was due to a combination of different factors. Firstly, there was the fact that his work was highly appreciated. With paintings such as The Picnic 1887, The Skaters (1890-1891), The Raising of the Fish Traps (1893) and Cows Wading the River (1897-1899), Claus garnered international success. At the same time, Claus was also an active member of Belgian and foreign artists’ associations, which resulted in an exceptional number of international exhibitions of his work. The public’s appreciation of his work is also clear from the fact that his works were steadily acquired by museums in Belgium and abroad from 1890onwards.

The museum has a long history with the painter and his work. It was the first museum to purchase an Impressionist work by Emile Claus – The Skaters in 1892. In so doing, it set a trend for the public’s interest in this artist. Over the next years, the Belgian State as well as Belgian and European museums purchased several of his works. In Ghent, the Claus collection was systematically expanded with purchases, long-term loans and donations.


Emile Claus


Emile Clause 1849 – 1924
Meisjes in het veld / Filletes au champ, 1892
Pastel on paper 71 x 53
Gent, Museumvoor Schone Kunstn
© MSK Gent

Léon Frederic


Léon Frederic 18561940
Boerenmaaltijd / Le repas du laboureur, 1885
olievierf op doek, 105 x 119
Brussel, Charliermuseum
© Charliermuseum, Brussel

Emile Claus


De ijsvogels / Les patineurs, 1890-1891
olievierf op doek, 148.5 x 205
Gent, Museumvoor Schone Kunstn
© MSK Gent





This exhibition is aimed at situating Claus’s work in the development of Belgian pictorial art in the years between 1880 and 1914. Claus may not have played a pioneering role in the complex historic context of his time, but neither was he a hanger-on. Claus distinguished himself at international level, and it is precisely this international success, which is reflected in the work of a large group of young artists, who debuted with Luminist work at the beginning of the twentieth century.

To coincide with the exhibition in Ghent, the Museum of Deinze and the Leie Region (MDL) will be dedicating an exhibition to Emile Claus’s drawings


    Images Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts
    Images © Their respective owners


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Stampfli & Turci – Art Dealers

Disclaimer & Copyright

~ by Stampfli & Turci on May 29, 2009.

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