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Joseph Coomans

Jun - 7 - 2013

Joseph CoomansJoseph Pierre Olivier Coomans (1816-1889) was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1816 and was known as one of Belgium’s most celebrated 19th century painters of historic subjects, genre scenes and landscapes. Coomans was also a noted illustrator.He went to the Academies of Ghent and Antwerp and studied painting with three noted Belgium painters of historic genre: Nicaise De Keyser, Gustave Wappers and Pieter Van Hanselaere.He was a teacher Diana Coomans and Heva Coomans. Coomans accompanied the French army to Algeria in 1843-1845, and also journeyed to Italy, Greece,Turkey , and the Crimea.

He lived in Naples from 1856 through 1860, where his exposure to antique painting would influence and inspire his own Pompeiian style. Coomans settled in Paris in 1860, where he exhibited regularly at the Paris Salons.
He had two daughters, both of whom possessed remarkable artistic gifts, and who, as his pupils, became well-known painters.
Some years before his death he visited America, residing here for a prolonged period, and his daughters accompanied him and became favorites in the best New York society. Both Miss Heva Coomans and her sister Diana paint the same class of objects as their father, and very much in his manner and feeling of color. In “The Pompeiian Flower Girl” is presented an extremely characteristic example of one talented daughter of a famous parent.

Pierre Oliver Joseph Coomans
Joseph Coomans, the father of the Misses Heva and Diana Coomans, was a Belgian artist, whose biography will be found in full in a previous division of this work. “The Smile” is one of his favorite and enormously popular Pompeiian subjects, a lady reclining upon a divan and cassting at some admirer a glance of invitation and encouragement. It is one of the most characteristic of this class of works which the painter produced during his long and incessantly active career.

A girlish coquete, revelling in the reminscence of some new conquest, is the subject of the picture by Joseph Coomans. The heroine is a type of the blonde beauty of the women of Greek origin or antecedents who bore away the palm for loveliness in Pompeii in its prime, when beauty was worshipped there second only to the gods.

The dream of Joseph Coomans’ Pompeiian maiden is evidently one of those which come by day to young ladies not insensible to the sentiment of love.
He died on December 31, 1889 in Boulogne-on-Seine, France. His brother, Jean-Baptiste Coomans, wrote Le Histoire de Belgium (The History of Belgium).
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