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 Gustave (Gustaf) Baron Wappers  (1803 - 1874)



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Lived/Active: Belgium      Known for: romantic historical genre and allegorical painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Allegory of the Christian Soul between Virtue and Vice
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Egide Charles Gustave, Baron Wappers (23 August 1803 Antwerp - 6 December 1874 Paris) is best known as the Belgian painter Gustave Wappers, while his oeuvre is also reckoned Flemish. He signed works by the name Gustaf Wappers.

He studied at the Royal Academy of Antwerp*, and in Paris during 1826.  The movement of Romanticism* with its new ideas about art and politics was astir in France. Wappers was the first Belgian artist to take advantage of this state of affairs, and his first painting, The Devotion of the Burgomaster of Leiden, appeared at the appropriate moment and had marvelous success in the Brussels Salon during 1830, the year of the Belgian Revolution. While political, this remarkable work revolutionized the direction of Flemish painters.

Wappers was invited to the court at Brussels, and was favoured with commissions. In 1832 the city of Antwerp appointed him Professor of Painting. He exhibited his masterpiece, Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830 or rather Episode of the September Days of 1830 on the Grand Place of Brussels, (Museum of Ancient Art, Brussels) at the Antwerp Salon in 1834.

He was subsequently appointed painter to Leopold, King of the Belgians. At the death of Matthieu-Ignace Van Brée in 1839 he was elevated to Director of the Antwerp Academy. One of his pupils was Ford Maddox Brown; another was the Czech history painter Karel Javurek.

Wappers' works are numerous; some of them in traditional devotional modes (Christ Entombe"), while others illustrate the Romantic view of history: Charles I taking leave of his Children, Charles IX", "Camoens, Peter the Great at Saardam, and Boccaccio at the Court of Joanna of Naples.

Louis Philippe gave him a commission to paint a large painting for the gallery at Versailles, The Defense of Rhodes by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. He finished the work in 1844, the same year that he received the title of Baron from Leopold I.

After retiring as director of the Antwerp Academy, he settled in 1853 in Paris, where he died in 1873 - having been one of the most talented flagships of Romanticism in Belgium.


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