Close ups

Georges LEMMEN
Belgian 1865–1916
Julie Lemmen sewing and crocheting (1890-91)
(Julie Lemmen cousant et faisant du crochet)
oil and gouache on paper on canvas
26.0 x 33.2 cm
Private collection, Belgium
Photo: Luc Schrobiltgen

The young Belgian artist Georges Lemmen painted in the Neo-Impressionist manner for only five years, from 1890 to 1895. Seurat had shown paintings in Brussels in 1887 and 1889; on one of these occasions Lemmen befriended him, and eventually adopted Seurat's Divisionist principles himself. Portraiture was a primary subject for Lemmen because it aligned with his natural inclination towards painting intimate scenes of domestic life. These mostly featured his sister Julie who, having never married, was always available to pose in the family home. This painting is a cleverly staged double act in which the artist's sister is depicted simultaneously engaged in two domestic tasks.