The Van Beers Affair. Master painter or conman?

00:05:57 402 The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Though Van Beers has gone down in history as a painter, during his lifetime the artist was best known as an ambitious society figure. However, was he a master painter, or a conman?

In 1898 Marie Adelaide Belloc brought a visit to the brand-new home of Jan Van Beers (1852-1927) in Paris. During this visit she interviewed him for The Strand Magazine. The artist gave her a tour and told her all about his turbulent life and his oeuvre. 

Though Van Beers has gone down in history as a painter, during his lifetime the artist was best known as an ambitious society figure. He first made a name for himself with his history paintings, but he became a highly talented portrait painter of the Parisian beau monde. Realistic details characterize his work, which sometimes looks photographic, even to the extent that Van Beers was suspected of copying photographs and also of painting over them. He took his adversaries to court and had his work examined by experts. The outcome was inconclusive. 

'The Van Beers Affair. Master painter or conman?' is a collaboration between the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp and the Municipal Museums of Lier and runs from 19 March 2016 to 5 March 2017.

Video credits

  • Concept: Nathalie Monteyne en Wenke Mast
  • Productie: Deep Focus
  • Stem: Ivan Pecknik
  • Muziek: Cyril Orcel naar Peter Benoît
  • Montage: Guido Verelst
  • Audio Postproductie: Yves De Mey
More info