The brother of artist Gerard Portielje (1856-1929) and the son of artist Jan Portielje (1829-1908), Edward Antoon Portielje studied at the famed Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Between 1877 and 1881, he took drawing lessons from the 1857 Prix de Rome, Polydore Beaufaux (1829-1905) and painting courses from one of the leaders of Belgian Romanticism, Nicaise De Keyser (1813-1887), and from Charles Verlat (1824-1890), who himself was trained in Paris by Hippolyte-Jean Flandrin (1809-1864), and a friend of Gustave Courbet (1819-1877).
Edward Antoon Portielje also benefited from his father’s art instruction. Jan Portielje had been active all over Europe and was actually extremely popular in the United States in the late 19th century.
Edward Antoon Portielje was best known for depicting intimist and anecdotical genre scenes, marines, still life compositions as well as genre scenes relating to the life of the Zeeland fishermen in Northern Holland.
Edward Antoon Portielje’s body of work received much critical acclaim during his lifetime. He exhibited in Antwerp, Rheims, the Hague, Namur, Mons, Liège, Spa, Verviers and Middelburg. The artist was also knighted in recognition of his contributions to the art world.
In addition, Edward Antoon Portielje collaborated with Edouard De Jans (1855-1919) and Pierre-Jacques Dierckx (1855-1947) on a series of murals for the Antwerp International Exhibition held in 1894.
Edward Antoon Portielje’s works are part of the collections of the Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts.
Occasionally, artists chose to paint in soft, low natural light instead of the bright grey Northern light of a studio. The final result catches the natural, often romantic glow of a late afternoon in this particular work. By daylight, the painting appears dark but by candlelight or indoor lighting at night, this painting glows with warmth and beauty.
(Researched and compiled by Michel G. Delhaise, © Jordan-Delhaise Gallery, Ltd.)