CLAUS, Emile
(b. 1849, Sint-Eloois-Vijve, d. 1924, Astene)


Belgian painter, pastelist, and draftsman. He had various menial jobs before the composer Peter Benoit persuaded his father to let him study at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. He was taught there by Nicaise de Keyser (1813-1887) and Jacob Jacobs (1812-79) but found the atmosphere uncongenial and soon left. In 1879 he travelled around Spain and North Africa and in 1881 went to live with his sister at Waereghem. His painting of this period was influenced by Charles Verlat and depicted rural subjects, such as Cock Fight in Flanders (1882, private collection). This painting was a sensation when exhibited for the first time, in Antwerp and it won him a gold medal at the Paris Salon.

Under the influence of Claude Monet, he developed a style that has been characterized as luminism. In 1904, he started the artist group Vie et Lumière ('Life and Light'). In 1918, at his return from London after World War I and with the dawn of expressionism, Claus found his fame diminished.