Pierre-Olivier-Joseph Coomans (1816 – 1889)
The Jewellery Box
Oil on canvas
32 x 26 inches (82 x 67 cm)
Pierre Coomans was a painter of genre and historical scenes, born in Brussels. He was a pupil of Van Hauselaere and de Keyser at the Brussels Academy where he quickly flourished. On completion of his studies he embarked on a working tour of the Near East and North Africa, journeying firstly to Algeria followed by sorties into Morocco and Arabia.
He worked with models both in studios and in exterior settings, capturing in exquisite fashion all the mystical beauty they had to offer. With their exotic costumes and jewellery and dusky, sensual looks they made obvious subject matter to the captivated artist. These portraits were greatly prized by European collectors, displaying a subtlety of tone and colour. Coomans returned many times to these locations, capturing these beauties on finely prepared mahogany panels or canvasses. He exhibited these works many times especially at the Paris Salon from where many were sold. He died in 1889 after a long and successful career in Boulogne-sur-Seine.
The beautiful young lady in our portrait is selecting a necklace from her jewellery box and she is looking at a mirror to reflect her image with the jewellery, for her presentation at a social occasion. The sumptuous chaise longue she is sitting on has a red and green drape, which adds to the richness of the painting and is complemented by her white robe, the colour key is influenced by the light coming from the left hand side which enhances the painting with subtle tones.