Cromheecke draws Daubigny. An artist’s life depicted. From 2 December 2016 to 5 March 2017.
Charles-François Daubigny (1817–1878) was a great innovator in French landscape painting. He enjoyed painting outside, adopting a sketch-like approach. His loose painting style and unconventional compositions modernised the genre, paved the way for Impressionism and made him an inspiration for many artists.
Daubigny achieved success both at home and abroad. He is the most collected 19th-century French painter in the Netherlands. Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his wife Sientje acquired no fewer than 25 of his works, making The Mesdag Collection home to the most significant collection of his work outside of France.
Luc Cromheecke and Bruno de Roover
The Flemish cartoonist Luc Cromheecke (1961) was also inspired by Daubigny, whose fresh, direct way of painting strongly appealed to him. What’s more, Daubigny’s life turned out to be a treasure trove of stories. Cromheecke devoted himself to the French artist for five whole years. Together with scenario writer Bruno de Roover (1972), he decided to depict his life in a comic strip book.
Luc Cromheecke is known for the cartoons Tom Carbon, Plunk and Roboboy. He has several nominations and awards to his name, and his cartoon Taco Zip featured in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant for many years. In October 2016, the Flemish Minister of Culture awarded Cromheecke the 2015 Flemish Cultural Prize for Literature.
Bruno de Roover previously worked for Studio 100 and Studio Vandersteen. In 2006, he launched his own series of cartoons called ‘Café Cowala’, which made a weekly appearance in P-Magazine until 2012. De Roover also writes scenarios.
The exhibition at The Mesdag Collection explored the development of this visual story. After being introduced to several works by Daubigny from the museum’s collection, visitors followed the various phases of the creation of the comic, based on a large number of sketches and worked-out drawings by Cromheecke.
Daubigny owed a significant amount of his fame to his paintings of river landscapes, for which he made sketches from his studio boat. This was the first time anyone had painted from the water! This naturally also added another innovative dimension to his paintings.
Daubigny recorded life on the boat in a remarkable series of drawings – actually a comic strip avant la lettre. Daubigny’s drawings combined with those of Cromheecke to form a magnificent ensemble in the upper room of The Mesdag Collection.