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Adriaan Jozef Heymans

Adriaan Jozef Heymans

Antwerpen 1839 - Schaarbeek 1921

Adriaan Joseph Heymans grew up in a small village near Antwerp where he developed his love for nature. In 1853 he studied at the Antwerp academy. He later enrolled in the Academy in Brussels. Yet in essence he was self-taught. He was strongly influenced by his stay in Paris from 1855 to 1858. There he had had contact with Theodore Rousseau, Camille Corot, Charles-François Daubigny and Jean François Millet, who all belonged to the Barbizon School. Under their influence, Heymans rebelled against the academicism of landscape painting. Upon his return to Belgium, he quickly evolved toward a pre-impressionist style. This was clearly noticeable in his participation in the 1860 Brussels Salon, where light and colour played an important role in his work. In his sea views he loved the interaction of the fleeting light of the sea and the sky. He developed a personal interpretation of Luminism in the 1860s. He began painting in open air in the vicinity of Kalmthout. Around this trend in the “pleinairisme” arose the Kalmthoutse School. It was also known as the “Grey School” because the artists mainly used gray and silvery tones. Heymans was also one of the founding fathers of the Dendermonde School, where the same painters came to settle along the banks of the Scheldt in the vicinity of Dendermonde. 

Heymans played a prominent role in various art circles and was later a founding member of the art group Les XX in Brussels. He was one of the founders of “L’Art Contemporain” and, together with Emile Claus, of “Vie et Lumière”. In the 1890s he moved back to Kalmthout, where he leaned more to Neo-Impressionism.

In his period of Luminism, Heymans regularly used the technique of pointillism to the interplay of light and shadow to accentuate this effect even better. He exhibited in Brussels, Paris and Liège.