Hendrik Leys (1815-1869) -Signed and dated 1842-Scene of life in a courtyard in Flanders.
Linen canvas 78 cm by 65 cm
Superb frame of 102 cm by 89 cm
Very beautiful scene of everyday life in the courtyard of a Flemish house in the pictorial tradition of the Masters of Dutch painting of the 17th century (Pieter de Hooch, Vermeer ...)
Jan August Hendrik Leys (Hendrik or Henri Leys) -Antwerp, 1815-1869.
A pupil of the Academy of Antwerp, he completed his training in Paris in the studio of Delacroix (1835) and returned to Belgium; follower of a dramatic romanticism similar to that of P. Delaroche (the Spanish Fury in Antwerp in 1576, Brussels, MRBA), he moved away after 1840. A trip to the Netherlands and Germany (1852) confirms this, under the influence of the old masters (Dürer, Cranach, Holbein, Metsys, Bruegel), in its evolution towards a precise realism, with a readily archaic design (portrait of Lucie Leys, 1865, Musée d'Anvers; Madame Leys-Van Haren, 1866). The historical reconstruction is taken to its climax in numerous paintings with a complex layout, teeming with characters and well-ordered details, above all inspired by the history and artistic life of Flanders (Dürer's visit to Antwerp in 1520, 1855 ; the Fête de la gilde de Saint-Luc, 1858; l'Atelier de Frans Floris, 1868, Brussels, MRBA). This deliberately traditional approach should not make us forget the precious quality of the design and the color, of a primitive integrity. We also owe Leys important decorations for his own home (1855, now at the town hall) and for the town hall of Antwerp (1863-1869, unfinished).
Leys is very successful and receives all the honors: knight of the order of Leopold in 1840, officer in 1856, commander in 1867. Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, member of the Academy of Antwerp, medal of honor at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1855 and again in 1867. In the meantime, he was made baron in 1862.
When he died, the city of Antwerp decided to erect a statue in his honor.
Today we can admire his works in many museums.