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Work: 172 x 100,5 cm
As a child, Willem Geets already had a clear drawing talent. He started his artistic studies at the Academy in Mechelen, later at the Academy of Antwerp. In Antwerp he was taught by, among others, Nicaise De Keyser, one of the most important painters of Flemish romanticism. He also received lessons from Léon Cogniet in Paris (1861-1863). In 1869 he was appointed director of the Academy in Mechelen. This institution played a major role in the training of sculptors for the Mechelen decorative furniture industry. He remained in office until 1891. His incomprehension of artistic innovation at his Academy was legendary. In 1886 he founded the Lucasgilde, an association for visual artists in Mechelen. Willem Geets is best known for his historical paintings. (link)
Academies have long been a man's world. Men did not use female models until the mid-19th C. For the presence of women among the students we even have to wait until the end of the 19th C. (T. De Doncker, Hupsicheyt en hantgedaet. Kunstacademie en ambachtsgilden te Gent ca. 1748-1800, Ghent, 2013, p. 103; C. Goldstein, Teaching Art: Academies and Schools from Vasari to Albers, Cambridge, 1996, p. 162; M. Sterckx, "Agorafobie of 'agorafilie'? Publiek beeldhouwwerk van vrouwelijke makelij in Parijs, Londen en Brussel, 1750-1950”, in: Stadsgeschiedenis, III, 2008, 1, p. 2). The combination of a female model and a female artist makes the work presented here iconic and of great historical importance.