Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hippolyte Boulenger

Josaphat Valley at Schaarbeek
oil on canvas
107.5 x 134.0 cm
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium

Hippolyte Emmanuel Boulenger (1837-1874), born to French parents, was a Belgian landscape painter influenced by the French Barbizon school, known as "the Belgian Corot" .

In 1853, after he became an orphan, he went to Brussels to work at a design atelier. In the evening, he studied at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts.

He went to Tervuren in 1864, and called round him a group of likeminded painters gathered there, the School van Tervuren, a Belgian version of the Barbizon school, of which he became the leading artist. By 1866, he was famous in Belgian art circles. It was his suggestion that led to the creation of the Societe Libre des Beaux-Arts, an art circle of young Belgian artists, with honorary members from abroad like Corot and Millet, but also Honore Daumier, Gustave Courbet and Willem Maris.

By 1869, he began to suffer from epilepsy. Coupled with alcohol abuse, this led to an early death in a hotel in Brussels.