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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jean Georges Vibert

The Marvelous Sauce, Jean Georges Vibert
There are few things more delightful than an artist with a highly developed sense of humor. Psychologists tell us that a sense of humor is an important component of intelligence. It would seem that it takes a little extra mental capacity to see humor and then expand and expound upon it. In art, cartoonists are a prime example. But still more enjoyable is a painter who does more than paint funny looking pictures. The more important aspect of an artistic sense of humor is subtlety. At their best, those with a creative sense of humor are able to make pointed jabs at the foibles of mankind without being unkind, who are able to deliver a pin-prick without a stab in the back. That, in itself, is an art, the ability to lead us to laugh at ourselves without the anger that comes with being seen as a fool.

Peeping Roofers & the Woman's Bath, Jean Georges Vibert.
Painted in 1880 for the Vanderbilts.
The French painter, Jean Georges Vibert (pronounced vee-BARE), was one such artist. Vibert was a witty man of many talents, and interests. His paintings in oils and watercolors made him a much-admired artist in his native France, as well as in America. Vibert dared to use his knowledge of colors, medium, styles, and subject matter to differentiate himself from other artists of his time. His daring satiric paintings of a hypocritical clergy and pompous government were well received during his life, although his works probably would have meant imprisonment a century earlier. His humorous attacks were viewed however, as a part of the growing democratization of Europe, and made him most famous.

Jean Georges Vibert
Jean Georges Vibert was born in Paris in 1840. As a young man Vibert was a mediocre student. He was much more adept at drawing pictures of people in his copy-books than in paying attention to his masters lessons. Vibert decided early on that he was destined to be an artist. He entered the studio of Félix-Joseph Barrias, a painter of genre scenes, landscapes, religious, and mytholog-ical compositions, but is best known for his paintings of Cardinals in funny situations in a Realist style. During the war of 1870-71, Vibert took an active role and became a Sharp-shooter. He was wounded at the Battle of Malmaison in October of 1870. After the war, Vibert was awarded the Legion of Honor. Jean Georges Vibert died in Paris in July of 1902.

A Fine Point, Jehan Georges Vibert
Painting solo, Vibert debuted at the Salon in 1863 with two genre compositions titled The Siesta and Repentance. In 1864, he was awarded a medal for his painting Narcissus (below). His turn toward genre scenes took the form of satirical clergy members, in works such as The Preening Peacock, A Fine Point (above), and A Marvelous Sauce (top). Vibert exercised a new artistic freedom through his comedic portrayal of human weaknesses, and mocking the imperfections of the clergy and monarchy. Vibert had become the master of the anecdotal scene, which had great appeal to the more sophisticated art patrons in Paris. The popularity of his paintings spread, especially in America, including commissions from the Astor and Vanderbilt families.

Narcissus, Jean Georges Vibert
While Spain influenced many of Vibert’s paintings, his travel to the East also affected his style of painting. Vibert shared a keen interest in the detailing, of the Orientalists. Vibert also was very interested in the acceptance of watercolor medium, formalizing the Societe des Aquarellistes Francais, and becoming its president, in 1878. Jean used his scientific abilities to prepare paint colors of his own, by studying the chemistry of colors. In 1891, Vibert wrote a book of the science of painting, which he named La Science de la peinture .
The Canon's Dinner, Jean Georges Vibert

Vibert became a playwright, staging many productions, while also writing stories for The Century Magazine, based on scenes from his paintings, finding it a convenient way to advertise his works in America. In 1878, Jean placed six watercolors and seven oil paintings on exhibition in the Exposition Universelle, winning a third-class medal for his entries. Vibert was also had an active association with the stage and theatrical productions in Paris.

The Musical Nuns,  Jean Georges Vibert. Is this where the TV show ,The Flying Nun, or the movie, Sister Act, originated?
 A Difficult Choice, Jean Georges
Vibert--which smells the best?
Jean Georges Vibert wanted his somewhat controversial art to speak for itself. He compared his works to how a father loves all of his children, though he may seldom be completely satisfied with them. Vibert was daring enough to speak through his art, was accomplished by using his many inter-ests, his wit and style to create works of art which are displayed now at the more prestigious art museums in the United States, such as the Metro-politan Museum of Art, the Haggin Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Having a way with words, Vibert delighted in writing about himself, but with a false sense of modesty, he tended to write in the third person.

"After some years, during which the artist, then entirely unknown, was trying to make his way, he met with his first success, and from that day on his life has been like that of other artist. He has had medals, crosses, honors. He has painted, he paints, and he will paint as long as God shall let him. With regard to his works, which are everywhere, they must speak for themselves; and as for saying which the artist prefers, we never shall. A father loves all his children, though he may be seldom satisfied with them."
The Evil Bishop, Jean Georges Vibert


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nicolas Vleughels

Christ in the House of Simon, Nicolas Vleughels
There's an old American saying that no doubt everyone has heard, even those living abroad: "It's not what you know but who you know that counts." Sources conjecture that this saying has been around at least a hundred years. When you're talking about that much longevity, whether entirely valid or not, there must be a grain of truth embedded within it. In more modern times we've come to call knowing the "right" people, usually involving the furtherance of one's career, as networking. As applied to art, the gist of such a phrase comes down to, given relatively equal talent, the artist who has cultivated a network of friends and acquaintances will usually be more successful than one who hasn't.
Venus and the Three Graces Tending Cupid,
1734, Nicolas Vleughels
The French painter Nicolas Vleughels (pronounced mLEN-ghez) was great at networking. In fact, he excelled at it to a degree far beyond his skills as a painter. At best, as a painter, he was un-noteworthy. Rather, his reputation stems from his role as head of the Académie de France in Rome from 1724 until his death in 1737. His long tenure in Rome, first in his youth, and then as director of the Académie de France, made him a pivotal figure in the interchange between France and Italy in the first third of the eighteenth century. Equally significant, Vleughels had ties with the North. Although he had been born and raised in Paris, his father, Philippe Vleughels, was a native of Antwerp and, as a result, both father and son maintained close ties with the Franco-Flemish community in Paris including, not least of all, Watteau. Vleughels’ multinational affiliations situated him in a strategic position of influence.
Vleughels' View of Rome. Here Vleughels depicts
the houses behind St. Peters--probably the
first (an only) artist to ever do so

Our knowledge of Vleughels’ early life and works has improve greatly in the past several decades due largely to the discovery and analysis of a series of thirty letters the artist wrote to Giovanni Antonio Grassetti of Modena (Italy). This cache of correspondence, was first published a century and a half ago, but it was overlooked by modern scholars. The relevance of these letters to Vleughels’ career was first noted by Philip Conisbee, yet they still have been neglected for the last thirty-five years. We know that Vleughels was born in 1668, and that he spent his formative years in Paris. His father was the Flemish painter, Philippe Vleughels, a native of Antwerp, who had emigrated to Paris  where he became a part of a large community of Flemish artists residing in the city. Nicolas Vleughels is said to have studied painting with Pierre Mignard.
When you're a fairly mediocre painter, knowing the
right people makes all the difference.
Correspondence between artists is often a very valuable asset in filling in the blanks of an artist's life or in providing a greater depth into their thinking. Those between Vleughels and Grassetti do both. The letters fall into two chronological groups. The first five letters are from April 1715 to October 1718. They were written to Grassetti from Paris after Vleughels’ first trip to Italy. The second group was written while Vleughels was in Italy between 1724 and 1732. They record the beginning of the artists’ second stay there. When interfaced with certain dated drawings by Vleughels as well as with the diary and correspondence of the Venetian pastelist Rosalba Carriera, a new and more fascinating view of Vleughels’ life and circle of friends emerges.
Apelles Painting Campaspe, 1716, Nicolas Vleughels
Vleughels regularly copied works of Rubens. Moreover, he manage to win only a second prize in the Royal Académie Salon in 1694. Therefore he had to fund his first trip to Rome and his studies there himself, a difficult task in that his pockets were not very full at the time. He was likely in Rome from about 1703 where he met the famous Dutch vedute painter Caspar van Wittel. In 1707 he travelled to Venice and became an admirer of the work of Veronese. Vleughels was such an adept copier that some of his works, inspired by Veronese, were later wrongly attributed to Veronese. It is not known how long he resided there. In any case, around 1715 he returned to Paris. Vleughels became a close friend of Jean-Antoine Watteau. He lived with Watteau from about 1716 and shared a home in 1719. Ultimately, Vleughels’ letters, as fascinating as they are, afford only restricted glimpses into the lives of these artists.. Nonetheless, they establish just how closely intertwined such figures were in the art world of 1700. They also serve as a forceful reminder of how undocumented their lives still remain.
Circumcision of Christ, 1726,
Nicholas Vleughels

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Monkey Art

Untitled, 2014, Patrice Murciano

As a continuation of my highly popular series on wild animal art, I've decided to take a look at one of the most delightful, charming, and humorous creature on God's green earth--the monkey. Monkeys are Haplorhini primates, (or translated from Greek), "dry-nosed" primates. I suppose that's to differ-entiate them from most ofher mammals which have "wet" noses. Quite apart from the damp-ness of noses the major reason for our affect-tion for these simians is their similarity to our-selves. Although, as compared to their human cousins these little apes are not quite what you'd call beautiful. Yet their homely count-enance is a great part of why we love them so much.
 Day Dream Believer, Marjansart
Exotic Landscape, 1910, Henri Rousseau--one of the more popular monkey works.

Though technically not a monkey I've
included this one because I liked the art.
In choosing some of the most outstanding paintings depicting monkeys, I discovered they tend to fall into two distinct genres--funny monkeys and those in their natural habitats--monkeys being monkeys. Per-haps more than any wild animal we know, monkeys have suffered far more of their share of indignities at the hands of artist. At the same time, they have, at times, been elevated to near human status as a means of highlighting human foibles demonstrated in the work of the Austrian artist, Gabriel von Max (below) in depicting a "jury" of his peers evaluating art...likely his own, pain-ted after it was rejected.
 Silver Back Gorilla, James W Johnson.
Henry Herman Cross's painting of monkeys as people in a courtroom.
For the most part I've tried not to concentrate on those art renderings casting monkeys as the butt of bad jokes. Virtually all animals look their best when depicted doing what they normally do. An artist would likely never render a lion or tiger doing something stupid or undignified. Yet these same artist seem not to think twice in their visual mistreatment of monkeys. Perhaps someone should report them to the Humane Society.
I'm not sure why the Austrian painter Gabriel von Max sees monkeys as
art connoisseurs. Perhaps he considered them as dupes.
Perhaps the most famous monkey living today is Michael Jackson's pet chimp, Bubbles. We know what happened to Michael Jackson, but what ever happened to Bubbles? Bubbles, now age 26, lives at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, and is apparently doing quite well. Michael made him famous but it took an artist, Jeff Koons, to immortalize them both with his ceramic sculpture of the semi-prone singer and his pet. Unfortunately monkeys do not make good pets, as Mr. Jackson discovered when Bubbles got older, bigger, and more powerful. He had to be "institutionalized" for the safety of both Michael and his children.

Though Jackson promised to come visit his old friend, he never did;
nor did he support the chimp financially.
Most of us never think much about it, but the depiction of wild animals, of all kinds differs according to the native culture. Western culture has tended toward Realism, humor, adventure and, God help us, "cuteness." In the Far East, however, such creatures are depicted more elegantly and in a much more decorative manner as seen in the example below.

A Chinese rendering of a Far Eastern primate, bears
a strong similarity to the accompanying calligraphy.
As seen by western artists and their Realism, it's sometime difficult to differentiate between the work of a highly skilled painter and a photograph, not to mention a photo that has been "painted" digitally. There is virtually no difference in the effects which experienced artists can attain with either a brush and pigments or the digital brushes, pencils, sprays and inks available today (below)

Speechless, James W. Johnson. Painting or photo...or both?

SURPRISE! A digital painting.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Friedrich von Amerling

Portrait of Franz I, Emperor of Austria, Friedrich von Amerling

Although governments today may employ artists in any number of capacities, it's highly unlikely they would hire a single painter to do all the art work they might require. First of all, one artist probably couldn't stand the workload, and it's not likely a single artist today would be versatile enough to handle all the many-faceted needs of modern governments. Today virtually every major bureau or department at most levels would have it's own art department of two or more artists. Also, few such artists would be working full time as painters. Most governmental work involves graphic designers preparing material for publication.
A portrait, also by von Amerling,
of Franz Josef arrayed somewhat
more informally
That was not the case as recently as about two-hundred years ago. The Austrian artist, Friedrich von Amerling, was what was known at the time as a "court painter." Before you picture a sketch artist sitting in a courtroom trying to capture in charcoal or pastels the criminal proceedings of a trial, let me say that scenario is a modern-day conception in lieu of there not being allowed cameras in most courtrooms. No, von Amerling was almost exclusively a portrait artist, and as the court painter for the Austrian Emperor, Franz Josef I, pictured at the top in all his royal finery, all of which must have weighed heavily on him. (I'd guess fifty pounds or more.) Moreover von Amerling's job was first and foremost to paint highly flattering portraits of the emperor so as to impress his subject with his "kingliness."

Von Amerling, when he wasn't busy sating the king's ego, worked quite a lot on satisfying his own, as seen in his many self-portraits
Friedrich Amerling (the von came only after he became a nobleman) was the son of a gold and silversmith named Franz Amerling and his wife, Theresia. He studied from 1815 to 1824 at the Vienna Academy of the Arts before journeying to Prague. There he studied at the Academy until 1826. He spent 1827 and 1828 in London, where he was influenced by the portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence. Further journeys led him to Paris, and Rome; he then returned to Vienna, where after 1828 he worked for the Austrian court, the aristocracy and middle class. He received the Reichel prize of the academy in Vienna in 1829.

Von Amerling was especially regarded for the complex compositions of his intimate family portraits similar to these.
Friedrich von Amerling was married four times: to Antonie Kaltenthaler from 1832 until her death in 1843. He married Katharina Heissler the following year. That union ending in divorce a year later. From 1857 until her death in 1880, Von Amerling third wife was Emilie Heinrich. And finally he was married to Maria Nemetschke from 1881 until his death in 1887. In 1878 Amerling was elevated to the nobility and was called Friedrich Ritter von Amerling. As one of the most outstanding artists of Vienna, he received numerous important academics (such as Franz Liszt) at his home. In 1858 he acquired the Gumpendorf castle in Vienna and equipped it after his taste with valuable art treasures. The building was therefore called, in the vernacular, Amerlingschloessl.

Friedrich von Amerling was also quite adept at painting
charming young children including those of his own family
During his lifetime, von Amerling received numerous honors, including the Orden der Eisernen Krone in 1879. Upon his death in 1887, a street in Vienna was designated the Amerlingstrasse in his name. He was buried in the Viennese central cemetery, where he is commemorated with a monument designed by Johannes Benk. in 1902, the same artist also created the Amerling monument in the Vienna City Park. Amerling created over 1000 works, mostly portraits. He was the most popular portrait painter of high aristocracy and the growing middle classes of the Biedermeier period. The years from 1830 to 1850 represent the high point of his work. His style has points of similarity to that of Ingres, combining clarity of outline with rich coloration. Amerling's work was last exhibited in Vienna in 2003, however most of his work remains in Austria.

Portrait study, ca.1832, Friedrich von Amerling.

A pet portrait by von Amerling


Sunday, November 26, 2017

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida
When was the last time you looked upon a parking garage and said to yourself, what a beautiful piece of architecture? If the answer to that is a soft chuckle and the word, "never," then you've not been to Miami Beach recently, or else you weren't expecting a beautiful piece of architecture in a high-rise city the natives call SoBe (short for South Beach). Until he died about a year and a half ago my brother was a SoBe resident. I recall we decided to go have a look at the city's Lincoln Road (pedestrian) Mall. The attractive tourist shopping thoroughfare was very much worth the effort (this was about 2010). And that was about the time the architectural showpiece by the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron opened to the public a most unusual parking garage at the west end of the mall. It was known then and now simply as Eleven-Eleven Lincoln Road.
An attractive, even beautiful, parking garage?
The glassed-in central space contains a restaurant.
A car park is a public facility, not unlike a train station or an airport, where people change from one mode of transportation to another. Lincoln Road Mall is a very alive, urban experience, a pedestrian shopping street where small-scale restaurants and bars serve their customers day and night, all year round, under lush trees and stars. Eleven-Eleven is a new place for people to leave their cars so they can hang out on Lincoln Road Mall, go see a movie, or have a swim in the ocean. To create another standard parking structure on a retail base, with a façade that hides the ugliness of what is being stored inside, and with a recessed penthouse on top, would not have answered the urban requirements of this place. Seeing the potential of the project, Miami Beach authorities courageously approved more height on this corner, but not far more. The additional height granted is used for higher ceilings, more air, panoramic views and a better looking structure.
What is Eleven-Eleven and how do you get there?
The nature of Lincoln Road was one source of inspiration for the architecture of the car park. Another was its connection to the massive, (now closed) Suntrust office building. The garage is a fully open concrete structure. Ceiling heights vary between standard parking height and double or even triple height (up to thirty-five feet), in order to accommodate other programs, permanently as well as temporarily. A retail unit and a private residence are located on the upper levels. The open space can also be used for parties, photo or film shoots, fashion shows, concerts or other social and commercial activities. The building offers amazing views as the backdrop for the stage. An unenclosed, sculptural stair in the center of the building makes pedestrian circulation in the garage a panoramic, ceremonial experience, as much as moving through the building in a car. The private residence that is nested on a mezzanine of the top floor of the car park. It spills out onto terraces. Though folded into the structure it is screened by intense landscaping. The terraces also bridge across to the roof of the existing (SunTrust) building. The structure has room for three-huindred cars and cost $65-million to build.

A cross-section drawing reveals the building's use and access ways.
The structural elements are the architecture. The car park is an organized structure made up of a family of concrete slabs, deployed as floor plates, columns and ramps. The location and form of these elements result from a series of forces acting upon each other, a complex overlapping of site, and building code requirements, combined with program choices and the aspirations of both to integrate with Lincoln Road Mall where it celebrates road's beginning at Alton Road.

Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The Eleven-Eleven project included the transformation of the massive Suntrust Bank building from the 1970s into a publicly accessible place. The lowest floor plate of the car park cuts away a large part of the ground floor of this building, creating a fully glazed, kinked storefront all along Lincoln Road. The new structure opens up the heavy concrete building for 16 tenants who bring new brands to Lincoln Road Mall, such as Y3, Osklen, Taschen, and Nespresso--clothes, books, coffee, et-cetera. A new entry and an open, well-lit staircase in one of the existing corner towers of the Suntrust building indicates the new rooftop restaurant, which offers exquisite views over the Art Deco District and the Miami Beach skyline.

A parking garage with many faces and facets.
The new Suntrust Bank is a kind of “architecture with no architects.” it tries not to make an architectural statement towards Alton Road, next to the rather expressive car park. It is a two-story stucco building with the bank on the ground floor and four identical, introverted houses on the upper floor. As the site has no views to offer, the scenery for the apartments is created by two carefully landscaped courtyards. The façade expresses nothing more than the stairs behind a white ornamental lattice. And finally, Lincoln Road Mall itself has been redesigned between 1111 and the cinema across the street. Before the transformation, this last block was still open for automobile traffic. The full width of the street is now paved in black and white stripes of natural stone, from façade to façade, creating a generous common plaza with groups of trees of substantial age and size. Restaurants are limited in number so as to keep a large area of “commerce free” public space--instead of chairs and tables there are benches and water features inviting visitors to sit down and relax. A glass pavilion by Dan Graham raises the status of the plaza to yet another level.

A view of the Lincoln Road pedestrian plaza next to Eleven-Eleven.
A little less than ten years ago, the 1100 block of Lincoln Road was just another city block in Florida, with all the trappings one would expect: heavy traffic, wide medians, and lots of palm trees. Developer Robert Wennett saw that it had potential, especially considering its history as the one-time commercial center of Miami Beach. (Its revitalization had occurred in the 1990s) and was linked to the city’s most well-known architect, Morris Lapidus. The site is at the western end of Lincoln Road’s eight-block promenade, which runs perpendicular to the waterfront.

The lighting inside does not compete
with the architecture but enhances
and "flavors" it.
Lincoln Road was once known as the “Fifth Avenue of the South.” The economy of Miami Beach has suffered many ups and downs throughout the 20th-Century, but from 1920 through the mid-1950s, came a building boom that peak-ed in the 1930s. Miami Beach was in its prime as a resort town. Varying, and sometimes compet-ing, architectural styles character-ized this time period. The fact that Wennett didn’t want to demolish any of the existing buildings along the block meant that, in some instances, the designers had to make their references to the road’s architectural history quite literal. In particular, a massive Brutalist bank, with its 1960s-era defensive stance, provided a challenge. It fell to Herzog & de Meuron to rework the bank building and integrate it into the pedestrian-friendly surroundings. They left the white volume largely unchanged, except for opening the first two stories to install a more approachable, glazed retail floor.

The penthouse, located toward the left side and rear of the building features not only the ubiquitous Florida swimming pool but also a sloping rooftop garden.
Besides a luxury penthouse and a unique, sloping, rooftop garden (above), there is now also a restaurant atop the building. The banking institution itself was moved to the more modest two-story structure facing Alton Road, which the architects designed specifically for the SunTrust relocation. Herzog & de Meuron designed a parking garage that would extend the old SunTrust and replace an existing surface parking lot. Because of the ambitious nature of the overall development, they designed a building that is much more than a typical garage. They leveraged the strengths of the building type--its monumentality and visibility--while avoiding its typical weaknesses. The parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road is not over-scale, under-articulated, or repetitive. In fact, it has become the defining symbol of the development.

Ground level shopping.

High-rise privacy.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ferdinand Willaert

Fruit Seller, Ghent, Ferdinand Willaert
One of the best ways for young artists to make a name for themselves during the early years of their careers is to paint local color. If that's a strange term, it simply means painting local scenes accentuating the colorful people, places, and things the artist knows best. Although I wasn't consciously doing so during my own early years, I did, in fact, paint several local landmarks in and around Morgan and Washington Counties in southeastern Ohio. With few exceptions (mostly the result of their being overpriced), they all sold to local people who would not have otherwise bought an original canvas painting. I've long said that the majority of art sales occur when the buyer makes an emotional bond to the work. If there is already an emotional tie to the subject matter (as in local churches, bridges, schools, public buildings, etc.) then the extension of that to a painting of that subject is all the more likely. Thus the sale ensues (provided the work does not seem overpriced to the buyer).
Ghent Canal, Ferdinand Willaert
Ferdinand Willaert by
Valentine Willaert-Fontan
(his second wife).
The Belgian painter, Ferdinand Willaert, painted local color (top). Born in 1861, the painter spent virtually all his life in Ghent, about 30 miles (50km) southwest of Antwerp, Belgium. And virtually all his art featured the local color of Ghent and areas nearby. As a result, he seldom had trouble selling his work. Ferdinand came from a whole family of Willaert artists (he was the oldest of thirteen children). His father was a painter of portraits and religious subjects. Two of his brothers, Arthur, and Raphael Robert were also taught to paint by their father. Arthur painted mostly beach scenes while his brother, Robert specialized in dogs. Apparently the art community in Ghent was fairly tight-knit in that Ferdinand Willaert's second wife, Valentine Fontan (a painter of still-lifes, flowers, interiors, por-traits, and scenes with figures) and her father, Joseph-Auguste Fontan, were also painters.
The Camel Market, Ferdinand Willaert.
Portrait of a Moroccan,
1890, Ferdinand Willaert
After his secondary schooling, Ferdinand began training as a painter-decorator, taking classes at the Ghent Academy for three years. His mentor and teacher was Theo-door Canneel. In 1884 Willaert became a teacher himself at the Ghent academy. Then In 1890, he traveled to Morocco with two painting friends from France and Spain. They remained in Tangier painting local color there until about 1892. Upon his return to his hometown, Willaert presented his Moroccan paintings in the "Cercle Artistique" in Ghent. The exhibition was highly praised and marked the beginning of a successful artistic breakthrough. In fact, the interest was overwhelming as critics wrote full of praise while nearly all works were sold. Fans admired his personal vision, the rich-ness of his colors, and the honest repre-sentation of his themes. Soon after, Willaert was invited to exhibit in Paris. From then on his work could be found regularly in the Paris Salon as Belgian and French museums began purchasing his works.

The Arches Around the Place de la Bastide d'Armagnac, France, Ferdinand Willaert
1893 was a special year for Willaert, the year he passed an art exam and became director of the academy in Dendermonde, about ten miles (25km) northwest of Brussels. He held this position well into old age. In 1899, Ferdinand Willaert became a member of the jury of the Belgian Salons. In this capacity he organized various Salons in Ghent, Antwerp, and Brus-sels. Only then did he himself regularly take part in foreign exhibitions in Turkey, France, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Russia, Egypt, and the United States. In each country his work was highly regarded.
The Leie in Gent,
Ferdinand Willaert

The Garden of the Convent, Ferdinand Willaert
Although Ferdinand Willaert enjoyed a respectable career in art, he did not garner any great wealth. Prosperity did not come until near the end of his life when his works were gradually recognized by the Belgian art market. He resided at the Ghent Drabstraat (an apartment complex) until his death in 1938. As director of the Ghent Academy, Willaert was allowed an apartment in Dendermonde, where he lived and worked most of the week. After the death of his first wife in 1904, Willaert married a fellow artist met in Paris (Valentine Fontan). Thus, Ferdinand, Valentine, and her father, could often be seen working together in the studio of her parents' home at Magnan. Valentine Willaert gave birth to a daughter in 1918. Willaert retired in 1936 and following his death in 1938 was buried in the family tomb at Campo Santo in Sint-Amandsberg (Ghent).
The bagpipe player is Willaert's younger brother, Arthur.
A Town View under Snow,
1898, Ferdinand Willaert

The Grape Thief, Ferdinand Willaert