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Binje Frans

Luik 1835 – 1900 Brussels

Belgian Painter

A Path in the Forest

Signature: Signed bottom right
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image size 36 x 22 cm, frame size 49 x 35,50 cm

Binjé François, born on October 10, 1835, in Liège, Belgium, left an indelible mark on the world of art as a prominent Impressionist painter, watercolorist, draughtsman, and pastel artist. His artistic journey was characterized by a deep connection to the Belgian landscapes, particularly those of Brabant, the Ardennes, and the enchanting Belgian coast.

His earliest paintings date from 1855, initially capturing the beauty of the Namur region through his landscapes. However, life’s twists and turns forced him to temporarily set aside his creative pursuits. It wasn’t until 1875 that he rekindled his artistic flame, guided by the mentorship of landscape painter Henri van der Hecht (1841 – 1901).

The years spanning 1875 to 1890 marked a prolific period for François. He initially made his mark as a gifted watercolorist, later transitioning to the world of oil paintings in 1880. During the period from 1868 to 1880, he often joined fellow landscape artists, where they painted the serene landscapes along the confluence of the Meuse and the Lesse. François also frequented the Limburg Campine, with a particular fondness for the artists’ haven of Genk, a place that had captured his heart since the 1850s.

In 1876, François unveiled his artistic prowess to the world through his first exhibition. His work continued to captivate audiences at various prestigious exhibitions, including ‘Blanc et Noir’ in 1886, the Brussels Salon from 1896 to 1898, the ‘Société des Aquarellistes’ in 1899-1900, and the ‘Cercle Artistique’ in 1901. His artistic journey extended beyond Belgium, with exhibitions in Ghent in 1889, Berlin in 1896, the Belgian pavilion at the Paris World Fair in 1900, and ‘Art Belge’ in Brussels.

François was an integral part of the Tervueren School, both due to his tutelage under Henri van der Hecht and his unwavering commitment to understanding every nuance of nature. Rooted in realism, he stood apart from his contemporaries like Degreef Jean-Batiste (1852 – 1894) and Verheyden Isidore (1846 – 1905) through his ability to infuse his subjects with an elegiac or melancholic character. In the grand tradition of second-generation realistic landscape artists, he followed in the footsteps of the French painter Crépin Louis-Philippe (1772 – 1851).

François was a master of warm chalk tones, skillfully applying them with bold brushstrokes. His use of color was exceptional, capturing the mists of morning and the languid airs of autumn to create a canvas that obscured the lines and softened the colors.

François passed away on May 10, 1900, in Brussels (Schaarbeek), leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of Impressionist art. Today, his works grace the collections of numerous esteemed private and public institutions, including museums in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Courtrai, Liège, and Verviers. François’s legacy lives on, a testament to his remarkable talent and enduring contribution to the world of Impressionist art.

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