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About the 'Meet the Masters'Collection


Johannes Vermeer is today the most renowned Dutch painter of scenes of daily life. In his own times, however, he was one of several artists who excelled in capturing their everyday surroundings in exquisite detail. These painters were active in different cities in the Dutch Republic yet their work bears strong similarities in style, subject matter, composition and technique. They were inspired to surpass each other in technical ability and aesthetic appeal. This vibrant artistic rivalry contributed to the exceptionally high quality of their work.

FRITZ WAGNER  1896-1939

Wagner was born in Munich in 1896. He followed in the footsteps of artists such as Meissonier and Lessel who painted genre subjects, often with a military theme. Wagner developed his own style and he painted his subjects in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. His palette is soft but he was a skilled draughtsman and his figures are well painted and natural


Born in France on 21st August 1725, his parents were humble people who lived in a tiny house at Tournus. His father wanted him to become an architect – this did not happen so he took all materials from him then whipped him for making pictures all over walls (anywhere & everywhere)! Finally, the father gave in and sent him off to Lyons. His painting “Le Baiser Envoye” is now in London in the collection of Baron Alfred De Rothschild. “Innocence” is in the Wallace Collection in London. He had also great success with his numerous portraits. He died on 21st March 1805, just before he died he said to his friend Bartholemew “Goodbye – I shall expect you at my funeral you will be all alone there, like the poor man’s dog”. He died in poverty asking for an advance on a picture in a letter saying “I am 75 years old, I have nothing left but my talent and my courage”.


Born in Paris in 1865. He was a pupil of his father, Guillaume-Marie Borione (1816-1887) a French genre and portrait painter, and of his mother, the artist Evariste Luminais 1822-1896, a historical and genre painter. Under their tuition, he developed his ability for finely painted works with highly detailed figures and interiors. During the 19th century people developed a vivid fascination for the past and this was particularly true in France where memories of the deposed monarchy were still strong and the political situation still volatile. Borione’s work is full of character and atmosphere while his use of colour adds richness to an already sumptuous interior. Artistes Francais and his works were as popular then as they are now.


Maria Webb exhibited at the RHA in 1873. She won several prizes at the Amateur Artist’s Society in 1877. Maria exhibited a large number of her Breton paintings of fishermen, peasant women, street markets and woodland scenes in Dublin, London & Liverpool (1881 – 1884) and significantly at the Paris Salon (1883 – 1884). Today her works are extremely rare.


Duverger was born in 1821, he did not enjoy a formal artistic training but learned his craft through the close observation of nature and by carefully studying the woks of the Masters in the Museums and Galleries. His exhibited paintings received much acclaim. He was awarded medals at the Paris Salon in 1861, 1863 & 1865.


Born in Dublin in 1859. She was a painter in England in 1880 where she exhibited regularly at the RA London between 1886 and 1904. She moved to Paris and then to the Artist’s Colony of Grez-Sur-Grez, Pont Aven and Concarneau. Her work is still exhibited in town halls of Grez and Bouron-Martolle, several of her portraits are in private collections in Brittany and Grez. MacCausland’s work is all too scarce now but “Serving Dinner” is a vivid illustration of her talent and importance.


Gainsborough is probably the best loved of all the British portrait painters and he left us with a glittering record of 18th century society. After learning his trade in London he set up as a portrait artist in his native country but all his life he preferred landscapes to portraiture. His own remarkable achievements in this field including his “fancy pictures” were largely unrecognised at the time of his death.


Walter Osborne was born in Dublin. He won many prizes at the RHA. In 1881 he travelled to France with friends J. M. Kavanagh and Nathaniel Hill where he studied. In the spring of 1883 Osborne was in Dinan. In the summertime they were all working side by side in Pont Aven, painting village and farmyard subjects before moving to Quimperle in the autumn. Although “Primary Education” was painted after his return from Brittany it is a good example of the influence his time there had on him.


Born in Dunmanway, Co. Cork in 1840 and orphaned at the age of six during The Great Famine. Hovenden arrived in America at the end of the Civil War and rose to fame painting patriotic scenes in sympathy with the American version of Victorian values and later became known for his paintings of African Americans during the Abolitionist movement. Hovenden was one of the most respected academic painters of his time and is among one of Irelands’ greatest painters.


Jean Pierre Alexandre Antigna was born in Orléans, France, where his earliest training took place, under a local painter, François Salmon. On October 9, 1837, he entered the École nationale supérieure des BeauxArts in Paris where he was a pupil of Sebastien Norblin de la Gourdaine as well as the renowned Paul Delaroche. Until 1845 his paintings were generally religious scenes and portraits. Yet, after living in the poor quarter of the Île Saint-Louis in Paris he would incorporate images of the suffering and burden of urban poor into his works. By the 1848 Revolution Antigna was devoted to the Realist style, and continued to paint in this manner until c. 1860 when he began to produce paintings in the Naturalist vein. He exhibited at the Salon and received the Legion of Honour in 1861. He died in Paris in 1878.


Ernest Meissonier was a French Classicist painter and sculptor famous for his depictions of Napoleon, his armies and military themes. He documented sieges and manoeuvres and was the teacher of Édouard Detaille.

Meissonier enjoyed great success in his lifetime, and was acclaimed both for his mastery of fine detail and assiduous craftsmanship. The English art critic John Ruskin examined his work at length under a magnifying glass, "marvelling at Meissonier's manual dexterity and eye for fascinating minutiae".



From 1851 to 1856, Lemoka studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under Yegor Yakovlevich Vasiliev. In 1856, he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts, where he studied history painting with Pyotr Basin and Alexey Tarasovich Markov Seven years later, in 1863, he participated in what came to be known as the "Revolt of the Fourteen", a protest by those who preferred the Realistic style over the Classical style being promoted by the Academy. As a result, he withdrew from the Academy with the degree of Artist Second-Class. He joined the Artel of Artists, led by Ivan Kramskoi. Five years later, he entered an Academy competition and became an Artist FirstClass. From that point on, he earned his living by giving drawing lessons to aristocratic families. He accepted an invitation to give private drawing lessons to the children of future Tsar Alexander III and continued to do so for many years. He became a member of the Academy in 1893, received a life pension and became a curator for the art collection at the Russian Museum until his retirement in 1909.

HENRY RAEBURN  1756-1823

Sir Henry Raeburn was born in 1756 and was a Scottish portrait painter. He served as portrait painter to King George IV in Scotland. Raeburn was elected a member of the Royal Academy in London in 1815, he was knighted by King George IV and given the post of His Majesty’s Limner in Scotland. He was guided by leading portrait artist David Martin. He went to London and met Sir Joshua Reynolds who advised him to study in Italy which he did for two years. He returned to Edinburgh in 1787 and set up a studio. His reputation spread beyond Edinburgh. Raeburn is considered the founder of the Scottish School of Painting.


Gustave Courbet’s paintings are among the most powerful and controversial of the 19th century. Courbet was born in the remote town of Ornans in France. He moved to Paris at the age of 20 and struggled for years to gain recognition as an artist. His chance came after the 1848 revolution where he was hailed as a leader of the new Realist school. His larger than life personality was almost as startling as his art. He gained acclaim as well as notoriety until his involvement in the revolutionary commune of 1871 led to his exile. He died in Switzerland aged 58.


Biography Eugenio Zampighni was an Italian painter who painted mainly genre subjects. At the young age of 13 he entered the local academy of design eventually becoming one of the most decorated students. When he was 20 years old he won a scholarship and spent 3 years in Rome. In 1884 he settled in Florence, he had begun to paint genre works that eventually placed him with the leading artists of Italy. As an artist he worked on a commission basis refusing to participate in official showings so much of his work entered private collections in England, America and Australia. He was awarded the degree of Professor by the Academy in Modena.


Stanhope Forbes was born in Dublin in 1857. He travelled to Paris to study under Bonnat and went to Brittany in 1881. In 1884 he went to Cornwall and became one of the central figures of the Newlyn School. Forbes represents three figures; an elderly woman weighing potatoes; a pretty girl ladling milk for a child symbolizing the three stages of a woman’s life.


Irish born artist Richard Thomas Moynan was born in 1856. He studied medicine but then attended the Metropolitan School of Art between 1883 to 1885. He training at Antwerp Academy where he won 1st prize in painting from life. In 1882 he won RHA silver and bronze medals. Sadly, he would give way to the abuse of alcohol consumption which wrecked his career and health. Today his most sought after pictures depict the innocence of 19th Century domestic life, through the activities of children e.g. Tug of War. He died in 1906.


George Morland was an English painter born in 1763 in London. His best composition focus on rustic scenes, farms/hunting, smugglers, gypsies, rice textured landscapes, informed by the “Dutch Golden” age of paintings. He died in 1804.

PETER LELY  1618-1680

Peter Lely was a Dutchman born in Germany. He spent most of his working life in England. He lived through the Civil War and is inseparably linked with the restoration of the court of Charles II and it is through his eyes that we see it. One of his works “The Cotton Family – 1660) with the richness of colour that marks the work of his finest period. In the painting, The Cotton’s daughter, Jane who is bringing flowers to her mother, there is a feeling of simplicity and tenderness. Lely was knighted shortly before his death in 1680.


Leyster specialized in genre paintings in the 17th century. She came under the influence of Hals and was one of the most talented genre painters of the 17th century. She is the first recorded female artist to be admitted to the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. She was the only contemporary painter who attempted to emulate his impressionistic technique.


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (commonly known as Auguste Renoir) was born in 1841 in Limoges, France. In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with those of the Old Masters. Before he enrolled in Art School he also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans. His first success at the Salon was in 1868 with his painting “Lise with a Parasol” 1867 and hangs in a museum in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. In later life he suffered from painful arthritis in his hands and needed assistance to place the brush into his hand. In December 1919 he suffered a heart attack and died aged 78 years old.

FRANS HALS  1582-1666

Frans Hals was born in Antwerp, although his family settled in Haarlem in the Netherlands. The first documented reference to Hals occurs in 1610 becoming a member of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. The 1630s were Hal’s most successful years. By then he was in constant demand both for single portraits and family groups. He was commissioned to paint 3 large militia pieces. Hals success continued until the end of his life but most of his life he lived in poverty. His most recognisable portraits are “The Laughing Cavalier” 1624 and the “Boy with a Flute” 1623. Hals died in 1666 at 84 years of age.

JULES BRETON  1827-1906

Known as one of the first “peasant painters”, Breton created beautiful scenes of rural French life. He painted peasant women and men performing their daily activities. Reward and Official decorations were heaped upon him, his paintings were purchased not only by the Emperor but also by collectors in America, Britain & Ireland. However, Breton’s work became eclipsed by the avant-garde movements of the 20th Century and he was eventually forgotten.

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