There are very few paintings known by Willem Thans. He was a self-taught Dutch painter who moved to Belgium and died here already at the age of 42.
The important Rembrandt specialist Cornelis Hofstede de Groot has admired a painting by Thans for its clair-obscur, a subject which Thans specialised in.
About Willem Thans
Rotterdam 1816 – 1858 Geel
Very rare painter of genre scenes lit by candlelight. He also painted a single landscape, portrait and still life.
Apparently he was a self-taught dilettante.
He married in 1850 in Brussels.
Thans died at a young age, 42 years old, in Geel in Belgium. Geel is known for its psychiatric clinic, which was organised by the municipality since 1838 and by the Belgian state since 1850.
About our painting
Our painter signed this painting “G Thans”. The G is short for Guillaume, which is the French version of his first name. He signed official documents with Guillaume or Guilelmus. Some paintings from 1852 and from 1853 are signed “Gmo Thans, which stands for Guillelmo Thans, the Italian version of his first name this time.
This painting was sold at Sotheby’s Amsterdam, 26/10/98 for 12.000 DG = 5.438 €.
A file by the great Dutch art historian and Rembrandt specialist Cornelis Hofstede de Groot (1863 – 1930), written in French about a pair of candle lit scenes by Willem Thans reads as follows: “Two paintings of the best quality. Every scene is lit only by a candle; the reflections of the flame, the play of the shadows and from the light are painted in the most incredible way, worthy of the great Dutch school of clair obscur”.
With his few candle lit interior scenes and nocturnal market scenes Thans can be compared to contemporary 19th century Romantic painters, such as Petrus van Schendel (1806 – 1870), a Dutchman who had also settled permanently in Belgium, having moved to Brussels in 1845. While the pictural quality of our painting is extremely high, especially for an untrained painter, his sense of humour is unusual for the Romantic era.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a funny Romantic painting with a candle lit wine cellar interior of the highest quality.