Lodewijk (Louis) Franciscus Hendrik Apol was born in The Hague on 6 september 1850. At fifteen years old he became the apprentice of the painter Hoppenbrouwers. Charles Rochussen, the teacher of Breitner also frequented the workshop of Hoppenbrouwers and the young Apol must have learned a lot from watching these two masters work together and the discussions between them. After Hoppenbrouwers passed away, already in 1866, the cattle painter Pieter Stortenbeker took over as the young Apol’s teacher. Louis Apol showed a remarkable talent and already at 25 one of his pieces, a sunset in a snow covered forest called A January Evening in The Hague Woods, was exhibited in the Rijksmuseum.
Wood Gatherers on A Country Lane In Winter
A Snow covered Forest with a Bridge across a Stream
Figures In A Winter Landscape At Dusk
Bachlauf im Winterwald
A Cottage in a Snowy Landscape
From ARC at artrenewal.org
Figures by a windmill in a snow covered landscape
From ARC at artrenewal.org
Carriage Approaching in a Winter Landscape
In Carriage Approaching in a Winter Landscape, above, Apol takes up his favored subject of a snowy landscape. At center of the composition is a quiet road, lined with tall, bare trees. A covered carriage drawn by a white horse approaches at a slow walk toward the viewer. Beyond the road lie flat, rural fields dotted with trees and a single house at the right of the composition. The entire scene is painted in muted, harmonious color that augments the calm, quiet aura of the image. Snow and clouds are painted in tones of white, pale blue, yellow, lavender, silver, and pink. Trees and shrubbery in tones of olive, brown, beige, gray, and gold break the pale, snowy fields. A fine impasto and brushy technique enhances the texture of the dry, dead grasses and branches, revealing patches of light snow upon layers of ice and water. It is this adeptness at painting precisely these types of landscape views that made Apol sought after in both his own country and internationally.
A Late Afternoon In Winter
Apol demonstrated a remarkable natural talent for painting at an early age. Encouraged by his father, he began taking private lessons as a child. Whilst greatly influenced, both technically and artistically, by his first master’s choice of genre, Apol soon departed from the figure populated winter scenes favoured by Hoppenbrouwers and Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870) – a tradition which dated back to fourteenth century illuminated manuscripts and Books of Hours and evolved through artists such as Pieter Breughel the Elder (c.1525-1569) and Hendrik Avercamp (1585-1634). Alternatively, Apol decided to break with concurrent Dutch conventions and follow Jacob van Ruisdael’s lead as a true winter landscape painter, giving only minor importance to a few, if any, small figures in his outdoor scenes. Following his successful artistic debut at The Hague’s triennial exhibition (1869) with his first exhibited work of a summer forest scene, Apol quickly attracted national and international attention and soon began to exhibit abroad. Shortly after the exhibition, he was granted the Royal Art scholarship by the Dutch King William III to further develop his artistic talents, a decision which was supported by Queen Wilhemina and her mother Emma, who later purchased Apol’s work for their own private collections. However, it was the purchase of one of his monumental mid-winter landscapes, A January Evening in The Hague Woods (c. 1875) by the Rijksmuseum, when Apol was still only 25 years old, which marked the official recognition of his contribution to the genre – a work which John Gram considered to be “one of the foundation stones of Modern Art in Holland”.
A Ferry in A Summer Landscape
Occasionally, Apol differed from his loved winter scenes and painted a summery moorland or river landscape. One of the most remarkable events in Apol’s life was his partaking in an expedition to Spitsbergen on the polar schooner Willem Barentsz in the summer of 1880. The ship stranded on a reef. After throwing overboard all ballast, they managed to get the vessel off the reef, but the situation remained perilous. The expedition was aborted and they sailed back to Hammerfest. Sixteen years after this expedition, the director of the Panorama in Amsterdam commissioned Apol to paint his impressions of Nova Zembla on a few large canvases. The exhibition of these pieces drew thousands of people. A few years later, Apol also traveled to the United States, a big trip in those days. Louis Apol moved to Roosendaal, close to the city of Arnhem from 1886 till 1892, where he got married. He kept on returning to The Hague though, his hometown, where he passed away on 22 November 1936.
Schaatsers op de Bosvijver Source home-1.tiscali.nl
Apols’s works are kept in the National Museum of Art in Bucarest, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, the Musée Communal de La Haye, the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam, as well as museums in Amsterdam, Montreal, and Munich. (alazraki.com)