Artist biography

Isidore Opsomer 1878-1967

Belgian painter of portraits, landscape and still life, etcher, lithographer and teacher. Born in Lier. Studed at the Lier Academy, then at the Royal Academy and the National Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp under Albert and Julian De Vriendt. Awarded the Godecharle Prize in 1903 and visited Italy, France, Germany and Austria. On return to Belgium in 1905 was appointed professor at the Royal Academy in Antwerp. Made a reputation as a painter of anecdotal, picturesque aspects of Lier, then c.1910 began a tentative development towards Impressionism. Came to England in 1914 as a refugee for eight months, then settled in Holland at The Hague, where he was influenced by his friend the Dutch Impressionist Breitner. Returned to Belgium in 1918, settling at Antwerp. Painted a series of portraits of leading Belgian politicians and intellectuals from 1922 onwards which brought him considerable success and high official honours. Appointed Director of the National Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 1926, Director of the Royal Academy, Antwerp, 1935 and created a baron 1940. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Giroux, Brussels, 1931. Died in Antwerp.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.578