VERBOECKHOVEN, Eugène-Joseph
(b. 1798, Warneton, 1881, Bruxelles)

Biography

Belgian painter and printmaker. The son of the sculptor Barthélemy Verboeckhoven (1759-1840) and brother of Louis-Charles Verboeckhoven, he began drawing as a young child. His initial desire to become a sculptor led him to produce a few models. In 1815 his family moved to Ghent, where he attended the Academie from 1816 to 1818, supported by the sculptor Albert Voituron (1787-1847) and later by a Ghent patron, Ferdinand Van der Haegen. From 1818 he was a pupil of Balthasar-Paul Ommeganck, from whom he imbibed the classical landscape tradition that informed the best of his own work, such as Landscape with Cattle and a Cowherd by a Tree (1824; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). Other works from this period, for example the Halting Place (1826; private collection), heralded a new realism in Verboeckhoven's work. He abandoned the human figure in order to produce prosaic but popular pictures of sheep, cattle and donkeys; these animals take on human characteristics in his work and are reminiscent of bourgeois portraits of the time.