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Emile Claus

Emile Claus

(St. Eloois-Vijve 1849- Astene 1924)

Emile Claus was never a follower. At the very beginning of

his artistic career he was drawn in the direction of Luminism,

to which he would later be fully converted. In contrast to

his contemporaries, Claus was much less romantic, with a very

strong social commitment, especially in the period soon after

he had settled in Astene in 1882.

Rather than painting sweet natural tableaux, he preferred first

and foremost to depict the daily lives of the farmers. He painted

them in the fields, at work, as if consciously accepting their lot

in life.

Later he moved towards a mix of Naturalism and Impressionism.

This development was highly influenced by a visit to Paris

in 1888, where he discoverd the work of Renoir, Monet and

Pissarro, among others.

From that time on, his subjects were no longer simply the farmers

or the landscape, but rather light itself. Thus Claus was

involved at the beginning and in the dissemination of Luminism.

However, he never became a dogmatic follower of Monet, who

was a firm believer in the system of complementary colours.

Claus was, moreover, remarkably detailed in his drawings, as

compared with his contemporary Luminists, who often preferred

to depict vaguer figures.

After fleeing to London during the First World War, the tide

turned. The exuberant love of life that he tried to represent in his

Luministic works no longer fit with the prevailing atmosphere in

this part of the world.

Work Emile Claus