Cornelius Krieghoff was born in 1815 in the Netherlands. He is one of the most significant painters of the 19th century in Canada.
He studied painting and music in Europe before enlisting in the American army in 1837. There he met his future wife, Émilie Gauthier, and in 1840 they settled in Montreal where he began to work as an artist.
He went to Paris in 1844 where he copied the masterpieces of the Louvre under the direction of Michel-Martin Drölling and returned to Montreal in 1846 where he announced himself as an artist. He opens a workshop and begins to paint genre scenes. In these works, he pays careful attention to the details of clothing and everyday objects, but sketches more the faces of the figures. In 1850, Krieghoff produced many paintings and had engravings produced of ten of them which he sold in color or black and white. He exhibits and sells his paintings at auction; he wants to sell his ambitious production to a booming middle class.
In 1853, Cornelius Krieghoff moved to Quebec and began an intensive artistic production that spanned eleven years. During these years, he undertook several trips across the province to observe the landscapes and learn more about the inhabitants and their habits. Among its repertoire are the emblematic figures of indigenous peoples and inhabitants with the particular attributes and gestures that define their class and their regional characteristics, such as scenes of social feasts and winter festivities.
Krieghoff strives to visually translate the commitment of the characters, the peculiarities of their clothing as well as the Canadian climatic conditions.
Krieghoff continued to exhibit his work and sell prints and photographic reproductions of his work while living in Europe (1863-1870); however, his prolific production during his years in Quebec slowed. He maintains ties to Canada while abroad, and sales and exhibitions of his work continue. He briefly returned to Quebec in 1871 before announcing a move to Chicago where he died a few months later in 1872.
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