BELGIAN MARINE PAINTERS
sea is a vast, boundless element. And navigation is a world apart in which economic,
military, scientific, ecological, social and sports-related features blend and
shift in a totally unique culture. It
is a culture where oil painters, draftsmen, water colour painters and illustrators
of the sea make up an impressive crew. The Belgian Marine Painters association brings together the most talented active marine painters
of our country.
Marine Painters is an association that groups all active artists in Belgium whose
leading themes are the sea and navigation. Its members are expected to have ties to the
sea, either through professional or leisure activities. It is not unusual to find amongst them naval
and merchant marine officers, deep-sea and inland waterway pilots or even sprightly
of the group is to preserve a tradition that goes back to the heyday of navigation.
Time was when ship owners and captains were so proud of their vessels and
their adventures that they wished to immortalize them on canvas.
Even after the invention of photography, marine painters were still often
considered the best illustrators of all the aspects and fine details of the sea
and navigation. Whether as a painter,
illustrator or graphic artist, they continue to dip their
brush in the palette of rich colours, both literal and figurative, of this
perpetually moving environment.
similar associations in neighbouring countries whose members include some of the
most eminent marine painters. One may
well think that maritime matters play a bigger part in the cultural heritage in
those neighbouring countries, which have a more extensive and more significant
maritime activity than Belgium. But such
a conclusion would underestimate Belgium's ties to the water.
Belgium does indeed have fishermen, towing and piloting services, a navy,
passenger and freight vessels, and pleasure craft navigation, as well as rivers,
docks, canals, sea piers and piers serving other continents across the oceans. Furthermore, a majority of Belgians are drawn to the water, and
to the artistic diversity of those who have chosen it as their main subject.
public, better informed than ever before, are very much aware of this richness, and
are finding ,at last, the wake of history and the maritime adventure. At the same
time they discover the versatile artistic ways of those who wanted to express
themselves in this way.
has many great painters of the sea and the River Schelde who have triumphed in
maritime circles but who have also left their mark on the artistic world in general:
Frans Hens (1856-1928), Oscar Verpoorten (1895-1948), Maurice Segers (1883-1959),
Jean-Paul Clays (1819-1900), Hendrik Schaefels (1829-1904), François Musin (1820-1888),
Albert Baertsoen (1866-1922), Lodewijk Verboeckhoven l’Ancien (1802-1884), Louis
Royon (1882-1968), Maurice Pauwaert (1889-1965), Desiré van Raemdonck (1901-1971) and many
The Belgian Marine Painters association
was founded in December, 1991, on the initiative of Georges Remi and a group of
active marine painters who found themselves somewhat adrift after the Société Belge des Peintres de la Mer was disbanded in 1989 in the
wake of a final show at the Schaerbeek city hall. The new group of marine painters received the backing of Charles
Mermans, former president of the Royal Yacht Club of Belgium and president of
the Friends of the Belgian National Museum of
Navigation, as well as the support of Alex de Vos, former curator of the
same museum. The new group is also being
sponsored by the Belgian Navy which body has created since July the 14th 2000 the
title of “Official Painter to the Navy”. This title is granted in function of
two essential criteria : i. e. academic quality and profound knowledge of
the maritime environment. A jury composed out of renown authorities both academic
and maritime will each year grant the title of “ Candidate “ to the
artist who meets with the above criteria. After a probation period of twice two
years, the artist may receive the title of “ Official Painter to the Navy
to the society’s rules, all members are obliged to show their work at least once
a year and this at the annual exhibition.
association consists of 17 members. Their style, techniques and disciplines vary
as much as the subjects they handle. Subject as men of war, old and modern freighters,
sailing yachts, fishermen and harbour scenes are brought on canvas or paper in a
strong individualistic style ,from surrealistic to cubistic ,from impressionist
to the more academic realism.
Most of our members enjoy a long maritime
career as seafarers and exhibit their works during group or individual exhibitions
in Belgium and abroad.
the members have been at work for many years and have already exhibited their
works on many occasions, either in group or individual shows, both in Belgium
The Belgian Marine Painters have held group
exhibitions at Blankenberge, Nieuwpoort, Luik, Paris
(salon de la Marine 2001),
Antwerp (Eurosail 93),Lisbon '94,
Royal Army Museum (2009), and are
each year invited to the International Boat Show in Gent and during the Navy Days
in Zeebrugge .