Ferdinand  Willaert
Ghent  1861-1938

A  Town  View  under  the  Snow

oil on wood
16 x 24 cm                                  6.3 x 9.4 in

signed lower left Ferd. Willaert
verso ateliernumber n°327 and exhibition labels

Situated:  Depicted is a view of the Bijlokekaai in the city of Ghent.

DatePainted in 1898.

Provenance:
Collection Marguerite Willaert, Brussels
Donation Marguerite Willaert to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels (1993-1994)
private collection, Belgium

Exposition:
Ferdinand Willaert retrospectieve exhibition Dendermonde april 1971
Retrospectieve exhibition Ferdinand Willaert, 1861-1938 Museum van Deinze en Leiestreek Deinze 4/10-1/12/1986 n°33
Ferdinand Willaert, 1861-1938 – Een dialoog met het impressionisme Stedelijk Museum Sint-Niklaas 25/6-27/8/1989 n°38

Publications:
Retrospectieve tentoonstelling Ferdinand Willaert, 1861-1938 Dr Willy Laureyssens Museum van Deinze en Leiestreek Deinze 4/10-1/12/1986 p.35 n°33
Ferdinand Willaert, 1861-1938 – Een dialoog met het impressionisme Jean-Pierre De Bruyn Stedelijk Museum Sint-Niklaas 25/6-27/8/1989 n°38 p.145 ill.p.45


Ferdinand Willaert grew up in Ghent, where his father Charles-Louis was a painter of portraits and religious compositions. His brothers Arthur (1875-1942) and Raphaël Robert Willaert (1878-1949) also became artists. Arthur made some name as a painter of fishermen at the beach, Raph Robert specialised in dogs. By a coincidence Willaerts’ second wife Valentine Fontan (1882-1939) and her father Joseph-Auguste Fontan also were painters. Willaert was a pupil of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gent, and from 1887 until 1890 of Laminel in Paris. He became a good friend of Albert Lebourg (1849-1928) and Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945) and travelled to Tanger. Influenced by the bright southern light his palette became clear. Ferdinand Willaert always will be remembered as the painter of city views with canals and rivers and of town views in the winter. But he also painted some remarkably portraits, both in oil and pastel. His landscapes are often situated in the Gers-region in France. His urban sights show the old quarters which exhale peace and silence. His way of painting water and snow rarely was matched.
Ferdinand Willaert’s first exhibition in the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire in Ghent in 1890 was a great success and immediately established his reputation. A result were the many contacts and invitations to exhibit. From 1890 until 1938 Willaert exhibited annually on the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris – also known as the Salon du Champ de Mars. In Belgium he frequently showed his work on the Salons of Antwerp, Brussels, Gent, Liege, Namur, Ostend and Tournai. He participated in the World Exhibitions of Paris in 1900, Saint-Louis in 1904, Gent in 1913 and Antwerp in 1930. Next to numerous exhibitions in towns all over Belgium, Germany and France he participated in exhibitions in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, on a Spring Exhibition in the Art Gallery in Oldham, in The Hague and Rotterdam, in Melbourne and Sidney, in Moscow and St. Petersburg and in Barcelona, Cairo, in the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, in Prague, in Rome, in Santiago (Chili) and in Vienna. In Paris the Galerie Georges Petit exhibited his paintings on shows like L’Art du jardin and Les peintres du neige.
Ferdinand Willaert was famous as an important and international renowned Belgian artists. His oeuvre shows an evolution towards impressionism, with an increasing attention for light and color.
Ferdinand Willaert was appointed director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Dendermonde in 1901. A function he occupied until his retirement in 1934. After his marriage with Valentine Fontan in 1908 he did spend every summer and autumn on the estate of the Fontan-family in Crémens (Magnan) in the Gers-region (France). In 1912 Willaert resided three months in the Dutch town of Veere. In 1913 he traveled to Spain and in 1914 to Switserland. In the years 1914-1918 Willaert stayed most of the time in Ghent, where he painted in the surrounding parks of castles in Destelbergen and Mariakerke.
Ferdinand Willaert was a member of several associations of which the most important were the Société Internationale des peintres et sculpteurs in Paris, the Société Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the Société du Salon d’Automne in Paris. He received distinctions on the salon in Bordeaux in 1895 and on the World Fairs in Paris (1900) and Saint-Louis (1904). Willaert was knighted in the Order of the Crown and officer in the Order of Leopold. He was elected to participate in several art-commissions in Antwerp, Brussels, Gent and Paris.
Retrospective exhibitions of his oeuvre were held in Brussels (1976,1980 & 1981), Dendermonde (1930 & 1971), Gent (1952 & 1981) and by the Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek in Deinze (1986), the Stedelijk Museum in Sint-Niklaas (1989) and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels (1994).

Museums: City Art Museum, Aalst; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp; Groeningemuseum, Bruges; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Collection of the Rekenhof-Cour des comptes, Brussel; National Museum, Buenos-Aires; Stedelijke Musea, Dendermonde; Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent; Museum voor Volkskunde, Gent; Fine Arts Musuem, Cairo; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Mons; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Namur; City Art Gallery, Oldham; Fine Arts Museum, Oran; Musée du Louvre, Paris; Musée du Petit Palais, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau; Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Museo de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chili; Stedelijk Museum, Sint-Niklaas; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tourcoing

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