Saturday, August 2, 2014

Walter Osborne

The Loiterers
oil on canvas
size unknown
Private collection

Walter Frederick Osborne (1859-1903) was an Irish impressionist landscape and portrait painter. He was influenced by the Flemish painter, Rubens, and the French realist, plein-air painter, Jules Bastien-Lepage. Most of his paintings featured women, children, and the elderly as well as rural scenes. He was well liked in social circles.

He was born in Dublin, into the family of successful animal painter. Taught drawing and painting by his father, he studied figure drawing at the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts in Antwerp. While at Antwerp he won the prestigious Irish Taylor Prize in 1881 and again in 1882. In 1883, he moved from Antwerp to Brittany, soon after he again moved to England. In 1892, he returned to Ireland to live in the family residence, and he also had a studio there. He spent a considerable amount of time painting outdoors, in Dublin around St. Patrick's Cathedral or in the country. His paintings of rural scenes that dominated his early years gradually gave way to an 'impressionistic' interpretation of those subjects that he had great empathy for, namely women, small children and old people. He died of pneumonia at the early age of 44. Some critics suggest that at the time of his death he was on the brink of his artistic maturity.