Sunday, 3 September 2017


“Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.” - Edgar Degas

Albert Baertsoen (9 January 1866 – 9 June 1922) was a Belgian painter, pastellist and graphic artist. He was born in Ghent. His father was an industrialist and textile manufacturer.

In 1882, Baertsoen began attending the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under Gustave Den Duyts and Jean Delvin. His debut as a painter came in 1887, when he participated in an exhibition in Brussels held by the secessionist group L’Essor He continued his studies in Paris, at the art school of Alfred Philippe Roll, and exhibited at the Salon in 1889. The following year, he accompanied James Ensor, Frantz Charlet and other Belgian painters on a study trip to London.

In 1894, he helped found the “Cercle des Beaux-Arts d’Ostende”. The years 1894/95 saw another stay in Paris, where his painting “Oude Vlaamse Vaart” (Old Flemish Sails) was acquired by the Musée du Luxembourg and he participated in an exhibition held by La Libre Esthétique. From 1896 to 1901, he continued to exhibit throughout Europe, winning several Gold Medals.

In 1913, he served as a member of the art jury for the Ghent World’s Fair. During World War I, he lived in London, returning to Ghent in 1919. That same year, he was appointed a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium. Two years later, a retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie Georges Giroux in Brussels. He died in Ghent in 1922.

His work is impressionistic in nature, although much of his work can seem a little lugubrious to one used to the French impressionist works. However, he could also be a brilliant colourist, especially when travelling to sunnier climates. As well as a painter, Baertsoen was a fine draughtsman and his composition is always interesting and often surprising. The painting above is the “Rope Makers”.

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