Roessingh, Louis Albert (1873-1951)

Roessingh, Louis Albert (1873-1951)

Dutch artist Louis Albert Roessingh injected into his works his own sense of spirit and emotion, inspired by the precedent of his fellow artists. Uncaring for the trends in art, his many landscapes and genre scenes of his beloved province of Drenthe are imbued with his own sense of artistic identity.

Growing up in Assen, Roessingh was the son of the president of the district court. This provided him with a thorough education and the ability to develop his interest in becoming an artist. He moved to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, in neighbouring Belgium. Along with his studies at this institution, Roessingh also supplemented his learnings with private lessons in the studio of prominent Belgian painter Franz Van Leemputten (1850-1914).

Returning to the Netherlands, it was on a bike ride through the Drenthe province that Roessingh came across the village of Elp. So enamoured was he with its rural position and the glorious countryside that surrounded it, Roessingh built a house and established his own studio within the village. His home in Elp and the surrounding area would become the base and the basis for his artistic endeavours.

In his vivid interpretations of the Drenthe countryside, Roessingh invokes an impressionistic verve and couples it with a dramatic, oftentimes gloomy colour palette. This is very reminiscent of the Hague School of painters from whom he took inspiration, especially the work of Jozef Israëls (1824-1911). The effect is to create works electric in their aliveness. Clouds shroud skies in a rough retinue of greys and stained, struggling whites. They swamp the sun so that it casts a pale, waning light over flat countryside of ragged grass and wind-tossed trees. One gets a true sense of the energy of the landscapes laid before him.

Roessingh also produced a large selection of genre scenes and portraits. In these, children are a common focus. In particular, his two daughters are frequent subjects and sitters. They are depicted with a delightful realism, oftentimes caught in everyday actions, innocent, playful. Their expressions are especially captivating, rendered with so much humanity and openness, as if the father has been able to build his children’s spirits into the paint, upon the canvas.

His genre scenes focus on the everyday actions of rural life. Figures are captured either at work or play with a rustic authenticity which seems reminiscent of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569). They are figurative, boldly defined, and with expressive features. The effect is heartfelt, fond, and demonstrates Roessingh’s great love for his surroundings.

Roessingh exhibited rather frequently in Belgium, including at the Brussels International Exposition in 1910. He moved between Elp and Antwerp in order to continue to exhibit and promote his works. He was also an active part of the art scene within the Netherlands, becoming a member of ‘De Ploeg.’ Meaning ‘The Plough,’ this art group focussed on creating better opportunities for budding artists, carving out more chances for exhibition and arts education.

Along with his visual art, Roessingh was also an accomplished poet. His work was published in the ‘New Drenthe Folk Almanac,’ and was accompanied by illustrations by the artist. His poetry continued to be published in various forms into the last years of his life. Following his death in 1951, a posthumous biography was also published.

Louis Albert Roessingh produced works which drew on a number of inspirations but were overall uninterested in following any dominant artistic style of the time. Instead, he turned to his own instincts as an artist to create pieces which really dig into the dirt of the Drenthe countryside, invoking its energy, its being. He offered spirited, empathetic representations of his daughters and the people of the Drenthe province. His passion for his homeland can still be recognised and celebrated in the large oeuvre of works that he left behind.


Born in Assen, Netherlands.


Moved to Antwerp, Belgium.


Exhibited at the Salon Triennal des Beaux-Arts, Belgium, Brussels.


Exhibited at the ‘Exhibition of Watercolor Paintings, Pastels and Etchings,’ Antwerp, Belgium.


Exhibited at Exposition Générale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium.


Exhibited at the Brussels International Exposition.


Became an honorary citizen of Westerbork.


Died in Antwerp, Belgium. Autobiography ‘City of Palaces’ published posthumously.

Stay In Touch
Subscribe to our Wednesday newsletter for the latest finds and 10% off your order.