Friday, October 10, 2014

Henri Evenpoel

Sunday Stroll in the Bois de Boulogne
oil on canvas
190 × 300 cm
Musee des beaux-arts de Liege, France

Henri-Jacques-Edouard Evenepoel (1872-1899) was a Belgian artist whose most important works are associated with Fauvism. His canvases were largely portraits and interiors, and he also became an accomplished printmaker.

He first studied art in Brussels at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts between 1889 and 1890, and entered Paris's Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1892. He was admitted to the studio of Gustave Moreau in 1893, where he befriended Henri Matisse. Family and friends were his preferred subjects; his full-length portraits, often against a neutral background, show the influence of Edouard Manet and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. His Parisian scenes were influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Jean-Louis Forain.

In 1897 he bought a Pocket Kodak, calling it a “real gem.” Fascinated by the mechanism, he learned to do his own developing and printing. He occasionally used his photographs as studies for his paintings, but he usually took pictures to experiment with novel images, record the contents of his studio, or capture images of his family. Of his vacation photographs of 1897, he wrote: “I savor them with the slightly sad joy of reflecting that all this good time is past.”

Though his early scenes had a somber palette, his paintings while in Algeria were very different in style, anticipating the bold colours of Fauvism. He died of typhus in Paris at the age of 27.