Friday, October 7, 2011

Eugeen Van Mieghem

Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875–1930) was a Belgian artist born in the port of Antwerp. As a boy Van Mieghem was confronted with the harsh reality of life at the waterfront.
"Havenvrouwen" - Women of the Port
Already at primary school he showed a talent for drawing. He was introduced to the work of Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and others at an exhibition organised by Flemish painter and architect Henry van de Velde at the Antwerp Academy around 1892. He attended the Antwerp Academy but was expelled from the school because his conservative teachers disliked his subject matter and his free, spontaneous way with it. He threw his lot in with progressive political and cultural movements, and joined an anarchist group, and by the early 1900s was recognized as one of the most promising young artists of the Antwerp school. He would never renounce his idealism. He became the artist of the typical harbour folk: sack porters, sack makers, emigrants, dockers, bargees, and tramps.
Van Mieghem had his first taste of real success at La Libre Esthétique in Brussels, where his pastels and drawings hung alongside works by French impressionists such as Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, Jean Renoir and Edouard Vuillard.

A boy on the docks
In recent years Van Mieghem's work has been rediscovered internationally. In 2000 a Steinlen retrospective at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona included seven of his works and brought international recognition for his work. In 1993 a Van Mieghem Museum opened its doors in Antwerp with a collection of 150 of his works.

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