Piet Verhaert

The Card Players

Piet Verhaert

The Card Players

This late 19th-century oil painting by Belgian artist Piet Verhaert (1852-1908) depicts three 18th-century gentlemen within a tavern interior.

Smartly attired yet slightly dishevelled, these old friends gather for another game of cards. Relaxing around a square table under a 17th-century seascape, they exchange stories and quaff the finest liquor. The details are exquisite and rendered with masterful draughtsmanship.

Verhaert was born in the wrong century. In his early thirties, he lived in Spain and made numerous copies after Diego Velázquez. Inspired by the bravado of the Baroque, his life became one of excess and exuberance. Together with his close friends, Jan van Beers, Alexander Struys and Jef Lambeaux, he was an integral part of a group known as the ‘Van Beers Clique’. These eccentric young artists became known for their mischief and often wandered around Antwerp in historical clothing.

Are they depicted here perhaps? It’s a tempting notion, especially as the scenes were usually painted from life with models in situ. The chap on the right bears some resemblance to a beardless Struys and perhaps that’s Lambeaux in the middle.

In this interior from yesteryear, Verhaert is certainly mixing business with pleasure.

Signed/dated and held within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on mahogany panel
Overall size: 27½” x 23½” / 70cm x 59cm
Year of creation: 1890
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £7,693

Piet Verhaert

Piet Verhaert

Piet Verhaert trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and was one of the 20 original members of the group of the 'Les XX'. The inaugural exhibition of Les XX included works by Auguste Rodin, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Max Liebermann. His works are held in numerous public collections including at the British Museum, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

Learn more about Piet Verhaert in our directory.

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