Wiethase, Edgard (1881-1965)

Wiethase, Edgard (1881-1965)

Hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, Edgard Wiethase was an academy-trained painter of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes.

Attired in “cool-fitting” suits with “well-chosen jackets and ties”, Wiethase was an artist of both style and substance. His oeuvre is brimming with colour - sunflowers, interiors, gardens, each enlivened with vibrant palettes. During the 1920s, his heyday, he was praised for conveying a sense of “joyful, unblemished beauty”, which was a welcome distraction during the aftermath of World War I.

He trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp under Charles Boom (1858-1939), Charles Mertens (1865-1919) and Piet Verhaert (1852-1908). They were wholeheartedly traditional tutors and urged students to hone their technique by diligently studying the old masters. This classical grounding provided the basis of a fruitful career and he developed a deep respect for the Flemish painters of yesteryear.

With one foot firmly planted in the past, Wiethase blended both old and new. Drawn to emerging ideas yet keen to utilise his training. As such, his works often carry an unusual tension, the paint is applied liberally and with spirit, yet compositions appear balanced and intelligent. There’s a sense of intuition, particularly with his colouring, as if he’s feeling his way through. During the early part of his career, he was, at times, heavy-handed - but refined his approach as he matured.

Here, in this piece from 1927, he’s taken an easel into a welcoming Dutch ‘koffiehuis’. The floor features a checkerboard of red and grey tiles - while the shelves are decked with glassware and liquor. It’s uneven, probably hundreds of years old, and invites you to rest awhile. The view through the door is particularly interesting and creates an additional sense of depth.

Edgard Wiethase

Edgard Wiethase exhibited frequently including at shows in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and Amsterdam. He’s represented at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.


Stedelijk Kunstsalon in Antwerp, with the painting association Als ik Kan, Brussels Salon, Ghent Salon, Amsterdam.

Public Collections

Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.



Born Edgard Carolus Eduardus Wiethase in Antwerp, Belgium, to George Wiethase, possibly the President of Belguin Standard Oil Company, and Marie Wiethase (nee Butchenbach). President of Belguin Standard Oil Company. His father was born in Cologne, Germany.

Trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. Under Charles Boom (1858-1939), Charles Mertens (1865-1919) and Piet Verhaert (1852-1908).

Trained at the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp under Frans Van Leemputten (1850-1914), a painter of animals.


Joined the traditional painting association ‘Als ik Kan’.

C. 1937

Moved to Brussels.


Numerous works shown at the Stedelijk Kunstsalon, Antwerp.


Died in Uccle, Belgium.


Reviewed in De Avond Post during an exhibition in The Hague, Holland (1916)

“It has been several years since I last saw paintings by this painter. Here in The Hague I have never seen them in my memory. But based on the same large canvas, a morning mood in the country, which has now been exhibited again in the Noordeinde, I had retained a pleasant impression of an exhibition elsewhere. Wiethase was mainly known to me as a landscape painter, who preferably sought to depict the tenderness in nature. Marrow mists, morning moods, white sunshine, that is where he sought his strength and in portraying them he sometimes succeeded wonderfully. Now that I can check my memory from the past here, I see that she did not play any tricks on me. The entire series of landscapes from the period I am referring to by this powerful artist proves it. And what I also noticed in the past: that he often failed to express himself fully due to his peculiar technique - I see that again here. Due to his heavy, often rough touch, due to the great use of paint, his paintings sometimes take on something thick, something stony, which detracts from the intention of portraying the delicate and delicate character to which the colour focuses.

However, after what I knew of Wiethase, he started to move more in the luminist direction and to that extent this exhibition brings me a surprise, because he also provides remarkable things in this respect. Among the figures, children playing in the sunshine, brightly lit and painted with an equally sharp touch, interior houses (especially one in a grey tone) show that! Wiethase may achieve even more in this direction than before. Here he can let himself go and all his natural strength comes into play here. I think that for Wiethase, luminism is the appropriate path. Taken together, his exhibition is a very interesting one.”

Reviewed in Algemeen Handelsblad (1921)

“Many painters, whose last work we saw in the good times of Vrode, are now coming back to us for the first time with much more mature, more complete art. Yesterday it was Aloïs de Lact, today it is Edgard Wiethase and we look up in surprise. We then forget the long span of time between the work of 1914 and that of today. More than four years of war, during which life here seemed to stand still in the horror of what was happening, in the thrilling anticipation of what was to come. Three years to get over the great nightmare, to make the destroyed house sane again, to adapt again, to find the peace and security from which good work can grow.

The artists who did not perish have emerged stronger from this ordeal. Difficult living conditions, in exile or under arms, deepened their minds. New insights arose from new surroundings, one's own already conquered possessions were tested against the foreign. Painters of 30, 35 years old, who were still searching hesitantly before the war, now found their way and with a steadier hand they achieved greater mastery in the expression of what they knew and felt from then on. There was more courage in people who had killed all doubts, who came to terms with their artistic vocation. Deeper wisdom and a more beautiful character were now accompanied by greater artistic skill. The painters as they now present themselves to us, renewed and strengthened, can easily be divided into two groups: those who remained in the country during the great wooling or stayed in Holland fell more easily under the influence of the modern movements coming from Germany and Russia felt more keenly the bankruptcy of the old life and therefore more easily threw it overboard. With the bitterness of those who were deceived they clung to the new that came to them as cubism, futurism, expressionism.

The others who passed through the transition period in the Entente countries remained more faithful to the old views. The old life was stronger there and this becomes even clearer now that we see that after the war in the new world relations the Entente countries represent the reaction; that the military spectre, against whom the battle was supposedly waged, remained enthroned with them and with them alone. Business as usual was the order of the day in England during the war and it was not just business that continued as before, life as a whole went back to normal. That also had an influence on the art movement. The old praise is not yet dead. We still have to take it into account. The dangers of the battle have even strengthened it, but the new must still be greater.”

Reviewed in De Maasbode following an exhibition in Antwerp (1923)

“The war passed over Edgar Wiethase without touching him. It is the same festive mood, the same glorious light as in the pre-war days of peace, those same dominating tones, blue and yellow; but the work has come to a firmer equilibrium; the beautiful has grown into beauty; the internal and external construction of his work have become much stronger. Thus ‘Summer in the Garden’ and especially ‘The Verandah’, two works of joyful, unblemished beauty.”

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