Jan van Beers
(1852 - 1927)

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The Spring Song

 

 

A painter of portraits, history and genre* scenes, Jan van Beers was born in Belgium in 1852.  He grew up in a highly cultural and artistic milieu, his father being a famous poet, and was predestined for an artistic career, having befriended artists such as the composer Pierre Benoit, whose portrait he completed in 1883, or the painter Baron Henri Leys.

At an early age, he developed an exceptional talent for drawing and painting. Studying at the Antwerp Fine Arts Academy, he soon became the leader of a group of young promising artists, known as the “Van Beers clique.”  Among them were Piet Verhaert (1852-1908), Alexander Struys (1852-1941), and Jef Lambeaux (1852-1908).  This group was famous for their mischief and eccentricities and used to walk around the town dressed up in historic costumes.  These eccentricities aside, several art critics had been emphasizing the technical skills of Van Beers, comparing them to those of the Old Masters*.   In 1878 van Beers moved to Paris, and he started to work in the studio of his fellow Belgian painter Alfred Stevens.

After 1879 van Beers began to focus on genre scenes and modern life subjects painted in a highly-finished Naturalist* style.  He painted very small pictures, delicately brushed, hyper-realistic in their details and extreme finish.  Success was almost immediate.



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