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Bernard Pothast

Biography of Artist

Bernard Pothast

1882 - 1966

Although born in Belgium in 1882, Bernard Pothast was the son of a well-known Dutch portrait painter. In his youth Bernard was encouraged to visit his father’s workshop where he learnt all the technical points of production. After he had finished school his father sent him to study the work of the Dutch Masters in museums and galleries. Eventually Bernard became a pupil at the Amsterdam Rijksakademie between 1904 and 1907 and there he was particularly influenced by the artist A. Allebe, who was a professor at the school. He successful and was awarded the Royal Bursary for study abroad, he chose Paris and spent a year at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Although successful in Paris he soon began to miss the atmosphere of Holland and returned to the circle of artists who were taking up the mantle of The Dutch Masters.

Pothast was very much a follower of the Hague School who were the Dutch equivalent of the French Impressionists. He specialised in painting interior scenes with children, often depicting toys and other objects which are of both an historical and artistic interest.

The characters in Pothast’s paintings are imbued with virtue and a gentle strength. Bernard Pothast's poignant paintings of peasant life gained popularity during his lifetime and remain popular today. This signed oil on canvas shows Pothast’s great skill in capturing warm light built up in thick layers of impasto paint.

It has been suggested that his models were his wife and children and it is tempting to accept this as true when a likeness of models can be detected throughout his works. The artist's use of light was very special. His figures are often bathed in a warm glowing light which usually emanates from a window and gives an added intimacy to the scene. Pothast died in Laren on 1st February 1966. His paintings continue to be very popular and can be found in private collections throughout the world.