A superb picture by the Belgian artist Emile Claus (1849-1924) will feature in Sworders’ June 25-26 Fine Interiors auction. The picture, measuring 53 x 92cm, was purchased by the seller's grandfather before the Second World War.
Emile Claus is celebrated as the pre-eminent artist of Belgian Impressionism and one of the founders of the group ‘Vie et Lumiere’ in 1904. Impressionism came late to Belgium but Claus began to fall under its spell, particularly the paintings of Monet and Pissarro, from the late 1880s.
His early development, however, was characterised by a greater naturalism, partly influenced by the Barbizon landscape painters in France but also, more tellingly, by the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage.
He embraced the prevailing taste for plein-air painting when he moved to Astene by the river Lys in 1883. The views of the river from his cottage ‘Zonneschijn’ (‘Sunshine’), formerly a hunting pavilion, in Eastern Flanders, were the inspiration for countless works throughout the rest of his life. Few of the landscapes from this early period are dated, but parallels between our painting and other river scenes, such as ‘Le Bateau qui passe’ of 1883, which also depicts children on a riverbank, point to a date for our picture soon after his arrival in Astene.
This beautiful pastoral scene, in which the tranquillity of the water and the soft mists beyond the grazing cattle suggest early morning, is suffused with a gentle lyricism. It combines careful attention to detail with a mastery of light which pre-figures his conversion to the greater freedoms of Impressionism in the decades that followed.
The painting - estimated at £15,000-20,000 - will be available to view at Sworders’ London gallery from Tuesday 11 – Tuesday 18 June and then at the Stansted Mountfitchet Auction Rooms from Friday 21 June.
Also available to view online.
Fine Interiors - 25 June 2019, 10am