Otto Eerleman (1839-1926).
Two barzoïs in an interior.
Oil on canvas.
Signed lower right.
Out of frame : 60x90 cm.
Frame included : 98x120 cm.
Otto Eerelman was a painter, watercolorist, designer known for his genre and animal scenes, mainly portraits of horses and dogs. He also worked as a portraitist at the Dutch court, notably for Princess Wilhelmina (1880-1962).
Eerelman first studied at the "Minerva" Academy in Groningen and then at the Antwerp Academy before moving to Paris and Brussels. After teaching in Groningen between 1867 and 1874, he moved to The Hague in 1875, joined the artistic circles of the Pulchri Studio and the Hollandsche Teeken-Maatschappij and specialized in animal painting in the eighties. He succeeded in all aspects of this specialization: animal portraits, circus scenes, hunting scenes... He not only completed numerous commissions for the nobility, but was also hired on several occasions to paint official portraits of the Dutch royal family.
In 1902, he moved back to Groningen, from now on the name "Rembrandt of the North" would never left him and he received honorary dutch citizenship. Thanks to his position in the court, he was ennobled at the age of eighty, a street in the city was named after him and he died in Groningen in 1926.
One of the artist's best-known works is now in the Rijksmuseum, "The Entrance of Queen Wilhelmina at Frederiksplein", a large oil on canevas of 140x200 cm. Other works by the artist are held by museums, including those in Haarlem, Leiden and Rotterdam.
Despite the fame he gained during his lifetime, he fell into oblivion in the mid-twentieth century and it is only recently that his work has been rediscovered. Indeed, the quality of his painting as well as the attractiveness of the subjects he depicts have contributed to his renewed success at public sales, which have seen record-breaking bids. An important retrospective took place in 2015 at the Nienoord Museum in Leek.
This oil on canvas takes up one of the painter's favorite subjects, to which he owes his success with the Dutch court and nobility, who pressed him with commissions to have their favorite pets immortalized within their homes.
The two dogs are depicted alert but serene, one looking at the viewer as if it were taking part in the scene, while the other seems to be looking at another figure outside the field. The refinement of which the hand of the artist, who was known as one of the best animal painters of his generation, was capable, is expressed in the contrast of materials between the fur of the animals, the skin on which they sit, the geometric tiling and the fabric that unfolds in the background on a wood panel.
Bibliography: Harry J. Kraaij, Otto Eeerelman: Groninger kunstenaar, 1839-1826. Scriptum Art, Schiedam 2012
Jean-Marie Duvosquel, Philippe Cruysmans, Dictionary of Belgian and Dutch animal painters born between 1750 and 1880. Berko, 1998.