Armand Jamar

1870–1946

Born in Liege in 1870, Belgian painter Armand Jamar initially trained as a lawyer before attending the Royal Academy in Liege where he studied under Evariste Carpentier. Jamar settled in Schaerbeek where he painted in the former studio of the artist and sculptor Constantin Meunier.

His early works are Impressionist in style and he drew inspiration from the precursors of that movement, Eugene Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind and Turner. The themes of these artists remained influential throughout Jamar’s career particularly in his numerous seascapes and beach scenes. His interior scenes, however, owe more to traditional Dutch genre painting and Jamar frequently depicted the houses of peasants and artisans, cast in shadow or candlelight, over the more elegant town houses. He travelled frequently to France, in particular to Boulogne, Brittany and La Rochelle as well as to Venice in Italy Holland, Spain and North Africa where the local culture and historic buildings are reflected in his paintings. Jamar won the ‘Gold Medal’ in 1907 at the ’Salon des Artistes Français’ in Paris.

It was after the first world war, that Jamar found his own distinctive style. The brutality and violence of war led him towards a more expressionistic approach with wider, freer brushstrokes and a strong vivid palette. He had always been an artist for whom plein air painting was integral. At heart he was always a painter of light and the play of light, whether natural or man-made, upon his subject was paramount in his vision and was something that he continued to explore throughout his career. In the latter part of the thirties, Jamar got also inspiration from literature which manifested itself in his paintings such as ‘La légende d’Uylenspiegel. L’apocalypse’ and ‘La Divine Comédie’ de Dante.

The present group of paintings forms part of the extensive collection of Dr. Louis de Winter who, in the autumn of 1929 discovered the work of Armand Jamar. De Winter was an avid collector and amateur art critic. He saw in Jamar an unexplored potential beyond the landscapes and seascapes which Jamar sold to his usual clientele and his patronage afforded Jamar complete artistic freedom. The result was what renowned avant-garde dramatist and essayist, Michel de Ghelderode, described as “le plus sincere et pathétique interprête de Bruges et de la Flandre” (the most sincere and poignant interpreter of Bruges and Flanders).

Jamar’s works are held in numerous private collections as well as museum collections in Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Lille and Rouen. Retrospective exhibitions have been held at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle (1974), the Musée d'art Wallon (1975), Liège (1988) and in the Town Hall of Schaerbeek.