Belgian, 1864–1940

Eugene Jules Joseph Laermans

Eugéne Laermans was born in 1864 in Molenbeek–St–Jean and was a painter and engraver. His subjects included figure compositions, figures, nudes, portraits, scenes with figures, genre scenes, and landscapes. He studied in Brussels at the Académie des Beaux Arts under Portaels starting in 1886, also spending time at La Patte de Dindon. Laermans became deaf when he was eleven years old and then blind in 1924 at the age of 60. He lived in a rather solitary state.

Laermans often painted scenes with peasants, focusing on the life of the working class. His immense compositions often include bulky and short figures of laborers delineated in a way evocative of Gauguin, especially his cloisonné technique. He favored contrast, constantly using overlapping designs and irregular light and shade. In addition to Gauguin, his art was clearly affected by Flemish customs and his own work had an affect on the coming generations of Expressionist artists. Before he completely lost his sight, Laermans’ work became lighter and more tranquil.

He began exhibiting his work in 1890–1891 in Brussels where he showed his work at the Salon l’Art, the Salon de la Société des Beaux–Arts and the Salon de la Libre Esthétique. In addition to Brussels, he displayed his work in Antwerp and Ghent and also beyond Belgium in Dresden, Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen, Vienna, Moscow and St. Petersburg, among others. He was presented with a silver medal in 1900 in Paris and was also accepted into Belgium’s royal academy. His art hangs in museums and galleries in many cities including Antwerp, Brussels, Bucharest, Florence, Ixelles, Liége, Mons, Paris, St–Joost–Ten–Node and Wuppertal.

Museum Collections:
Bibliothèque Royale Albert, Brussels
Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Mons
Musée National de Arta al României, Bucharest
Musée Royaux Des Beaux-Arts Belgique, Brussels
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp
Uffizi Gallery, Florence

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