Pierre Oliver Joseph Coomans


Pierre Oliver Joseph Coomans (1816-1889)
[Joseph Coomans]
Pupil of: Professor Hasselaere at Ghent, Nicaise de Keyser and Baron Wappers
at the Antwerp Academy
Teacher of:   Diana Coomans, Heva Coomans

The late Joseph Coomans was one of the most popular of European painters with American collectors, and the sale of his works in this country alone made him a very rich man. He was a native of Brussels, and a pupil of Professor Hasselaere at Ghent, and of Nicaise de Keyser and Baron Wappers at the Antwerp Academy. From Antwerp he removed to Paris, and going with the French army to Algiers, where he resided several years, he later traveled extensively in Italy, Turkey, Greece, and the Crimea. At this time he painted historical and portrait subjects, but in 1857 he visited Italy, and became interested in the remains of ancient Pompeii, which were then being excavated. From this time forth he took up the line of subjects which made him famous. 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.

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.

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Vol. XIII.   August 1895.   No. 5.   p.444

The engraving on page 442 shows one of the last pictures painted by the well known Belgian artist, Joseph Coomans, before his death, which occured in Paris on the last day of 1889. of Cooman' life and work a sketch was published in this magazine some time ago (June, 1892). He left two daughters, Diana and Heva Coomans, both of whom are known in New York and in Paris as clever figure painters. "Sappho," engraved on page 450, is a good specimen of the latter's work, which is always decorative and striking, if not always thoroughly sound in drawing.

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