Verbeek (Nagasaki, Japan August 29, 1867 – 1937) was educated in Japan and at the Académie Julian in Paris, where several instructors prepared him for an artistic career, among whom were Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens. Price (1958) said that Verbeek studied in San Francisco under Emil Carlsen and at the Art Students League under George de Forest Brush then shared a studio with George Luks. The Dancer, in a private collection, especially recalls Luks. Sadakichi Hartmann (1902, vol. 2, p. 275), one of the few to write on Verbeek, called him “the one American artist who has mastered the Japanese gift of ‘suggestiveness’ of line as well as in colour.” Hartmann believed that Verbeek’s pictures “have all the non-chalance, the elegance, the effeminate grace and reticence of gesture of an [Utamaro].” Like the decadents, Verbeek “could not bring his inner life into harmony with the outside world. He did not quite comprehend it, and therefore pretended to live in the dreamland of his own imagination.”
Verbeek emigrated to the United States and became an illustrator for Harper’s and the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. His especially clever comic strip, “The Upside-Downs” ran between 1903 and 1905 in the New York Herald. For these drawings, the reader turns the newspaper upside down for an entirely different image, but both versions are intelligible. His paintings were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1900-02) and at the Society of Independent Artists (1917-35).
Hartmann, Sadakichi. A History of American Art, 2 vols. Boston: L. Page and Co., 1902, vol. 2, pp. 274-276; Price, Frederick Newlin. Goodbye Ferargil. New Hope, PA: The Huffnagle Press, 1958; Naimark, George M. The Incredible Upside-downs of Gustave Verbeek. Summit, NJ: Rajah Press, 1963.
Submitted by Richard H. Love and Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.