Georges Croegaert was born in Antwerp. He studied at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts. He moved to Paris in 1876 where he remained active as an artist for the rest of his life. He had a successful career as a portrait and genre painter. His paintings received critical acclaim and were sought after by English and American collectors. He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon between 1882 and 1914 and in Vienna in 1888.
He died in Paris in 1923 after a long and successful career.
Croegaert painted initially highly detailed still lifes, bird and flower subjects and occasional outdoor genre scenes. He built a career with his salon portraits of glamorous young women dressed in sumptuous fabrics set in luxurious rooms. He also gained a reputation as the leading artist in the genre of ‘cardinal paintings’, humorous representations of cardinals engaged in various mundane activities in lavish surroundings.
His works are very narrative and the objects in the background support the story of the painting. His paintings are characterized by a high degree of finish and a rich palette.
Possibly looking for a lucrative niche in the market, Croegaert started to paint ‘cardinal paintings’, sometimes also referred to as ‘anti-clerical art’. These paintings depict Roman Catholic cardinals in a sumptuous setting typically engaging in some banal activity. Georges Croegaert was not the only artist in Paris practicing in this genre. Others who made a name in the genre include the Italian Andrea Landini and the Frenchmen Jehan Georges Vibert, Charles Edouard Delort and Marcel Brunery. By depicting cardinals participating in activities such as ‘approving the artist’s nude model', card games, excessive or sumptuous eating and drinking and indulgent pastimes such as philately and painting, these painters poked fun at the excessive and sometimes debauched lifestyles of the upper echelons of the Catholic clergy. There was clearly a large demand for these paintings as evidenced by the fact that so many artists worked in this genre. The tone of Croegaert’s cardinal paintings was humorous and slightly mocking rather than overtly anti-clerical. Croegaert’s very detailed technique was perfectly suited for this genre as it allowed him to depict the excesses of the cardinals' lifestyle amid an environment of ornate furnishings, tapestries, glass and silverware rendered in realistic detail. He was particularly accomplished in capturing the vivid reds and purples of the cardinals’ robes and the characterisation and humour in the faces.
Works by this artist…
The Dressing Room( ref : 1745 )
An Interesting Read( ref : 15106 )
Good News( ref : 12463 )