Henri Goovaerts


Dating 1884 - 1887
Material / technique pencil and ink (pen) on paper
Dimensions 14 x 18 cm (paper: 24 x 31 cm)
Provenance Frits Goovaerts circa 1985 Gift by Frits Goovaerts to present owner
Current residence private property Utrecht, the Netherlands
Signature b. with ink: HGoovaerts [underlined]
Headings l. with ink: MISÈRE [underlined]
Remarks In a small and shabby room, a father is sleeping at the table, while one of his children pulls on his sleeve. In the background, mother sits with the baby while we see a third child on the floor and a fourth one in a crib in the back of the room. It is a small sketch for what may have become a large painting and a typical 19th century example of social realism, in which the poor urban people become the subject of the visual arts. We see a similar theme in Goovaerts’ painting ‘Alcohol’ from 1905, in which we find a family in a sober interior after an outbreak of domestic violence. The drawing 'Misery' is part of a sketchbook that Henri Goovaerts received from his Maastricht friends on August 24, 1884, probably to take with him to his final year of study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Mechelen, Belgium. On the back of the page are some figure studies in pencil.
Back to top