‘Annual Fair, Bruges’
Signed & dated 1854
Oil on canvas, 34″ x 50″
Dutch genre painters of the nineteenth century consistently looked to their seventeenth century forebears for style and subject matter, reproducing the techniques and mood of the old masters.
Louis Tielemans, who was born in Anvers in 1826 and died there in 1856 painted very much in this style, notably producing highly engaging scenes packed with activity.
This particular work, ‘Annual Fair in Bruges’ is one of Tielemans’ most accomplished paintings – and is said by some to have been his last, garnering contemporary acclaim when it was exhibited in Antwerp.
A lively scene, with horses feeding and dogs (an elegant greyhound among them) and children playing, the painting invites the viewer to appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of the occasion with steaming pots of food, a musician with a young boy collecting money in his hat, a man soldering iron ware, a jewellery vendor hawking his wares, a card sharp performing tricks, two characters shaking hands on a deal.
This entertaining piece of theatre is set against the elegant backdrop of the city of Bruges, with its impressive (if slightly run down) buildings and wide avenues.
Tielemans’ work is in many private collections and can also be seen at the Museum in Rostock, Germany.
© Sutcliffe Galleries 2012