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Van Voorden August Willem

1881 – Rotterdam – 1921

Dutch Painter

Still life after a Meal of Mussels

Signature: signed lower right and dated 'Aug. W. v Voorden 1920'
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: oil on canvas 54 x 70 cm, frame size 70,5 x 86,5 cm

August Willem van Voorden was a painter of the streets and docks of the city of his birth, and painted still-lifes in addition. He studied at the Rotterdam Academy, and worked in 1908 in Kortenhoef and 1912-1913 in Nieuw-Loosdrecht. He was awarded silver medals at both Barcelona and Amsterdam and was also elected to the renown Dutch Artist Society ‘Arti et Amicitiae’. He died in Rotterdam in 1921. Van Voorden painted in both oil and watercolour in a style very much derived from that of one of the leading Dutch Impressionists, George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923). With broad brushstrokes and white highlights the shimmering remains of a meal of mussels is depicted with much eye for details. The grease and wet leftovers of the meal are rendered so lively that one feels as if one has taken part in the feast. 

August Willem van Voorden, born on November 25, 1881, in Rotterdam, was a prominent Dutch painter known for his vibrant depictions of urban life in his hometown. As the son of a house painter, he acquired the basic principles of paint and painting at a young age. He attended the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts from 1893 to 1897, where he later studied under renowned artists such as Alexander van Maasdijk (1856-1931) and Jan de Jong (1864-1901).

Throughout his life, Van Voorden primarily lived and worked in Rotterdam, establishing his studio in a villa on the grounds of the Woudensteijn estate. He briefly resided elsewhere, including Kortenhoef in 1908 and Nieuw-Loosdrecht from 1912 to 1913. Although initially employed as a decorative painter, Van Voorden decided to pursue art painting from 1903 onwards. He favored capturing the bustling street life of Rotterdam, often featuring maids, carters, and draught horses, clearly influenced by George Hendrik Breitner.

In addition to cityscapes and harbor scenes, Van Voorden also painted landscapes, particularly in the surroundings of Kortenhoef and Laren, where he interacted with artists of the Hague School. He also ventured into portraiture, nudes, and floral still lifes.

In 1909, Van Voorden married Geertje van den Broeck, whom he met in Kortenhoef, with whom he had two children. As a member of Arti et Amicitiae, he was honored with silver medals at international exhibitions in Barcelona (1908) and Amsterdam (1912). Unfortunately, he passed away at a young age in 1921, at only 39 years old. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on through works displayed in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Rotterdam City Hall.

Notes: August Willem van Voorden, born in Rotterdam, was known for his vibrant depictions of city life and still-life paintings. He studied at the Rotterdam Academy and worked in various places. He received silver medals in Barcelona and Amsterdam. Van Voorden passed away in Rotterdam at the age 39. His works displayed in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Rotterdam City Hall.

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