Claus, Emile (1849-1924) - 1900c. Poultry in a Wood (Private Collection)
Emile Claus studied painting at Antwerp Academy from 1869-74. 'Great as had been his success in Antwerp for painting portraits, in 1883 Claus changed his style completely. With each successive work his style grew broader and more supple', more impressionistic, completely abandoning the tight academic style he had learned at the Antwerp Academy. In 1888 Claus took a studio in Paris and started to exhibit at the Salon. He spent several winters in the French capital where he became friends with Henri le Sidaner, Frits Thaulow and Claude Monet. He incorporated into his work the Impressionist preoccupation with the rendering of atmosphere and light. Having exhibited with the Belgian avant-garde groups Les XX and Libre Esthetique, Emile Claus in 1904 became one of the founding members of Vie et Lumière, a group of Belgian Impressionist painters, who focused on 'luminism', a combination of French Impressionism and pointillism, of which this work is a prime example. During the First World War Claus travelled to London and painted several views of the Thames.