The Artist Birthday Series

Xavier Mellery

In 1870 he won the Prix de Rome, enabling him to visit Italy where he studied the works of the Renaissance masters as well as developing refined sense of the potential of the medium of drawing.

“The Artist’s Daughter,” c. 1882

In 1878, Mellery was commissioned by Charles de Coster to illustrate an article on Holland, and to this end he journeyed to the island of Marken (off the Dutch coast), then a simple, traditional fishing community. His experiences there not only reinforced his tendency towards introspection but also helped define his lasting preference for a sober and quiet realism that rapidly infected the mood of his paintings and drawings. Or, as he himself put it: ‘He who will manage to have us forget colour and form at the price of emotion will achieve the highest goal of all.

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