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American & European Paintings - September 2008
 
 
painting
 
Frans Moormans
(Dutch, 1831–1893)
The Goldfish Bowl
Oil on canvas, 8 1/2 × 6 1/4 inches
Signed at lower right: “Frans. Moormans”
RS 5775


Born in Rotterdam, Frans Moormans studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and later taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. He exhibited widely in Europe and won a medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. His genre paintings, examples of which are in museums in Montreal and Rouen, include multi-figural works and single figures in decorative interiors.

The meditative quality of this interior scene is reminiscent of the great Dutch painter from Delft, Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) who emerged from relative obscurity during the late nineteenth century.

The Chinese were probably the first to keep goldfish in garden pools and containers, and the French had adopted the practice by the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century, goldfish bowls were popular in middle-class interiors in Europe and the United States, and thus became a subject for genre painters.


  


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