Louis Apol, painter of winter
Louis Apol was born in 1850 in The Hague, The Netherlands. From an early age on, he felt himself drawn to nature, resulting in numerous painted landscapes. By doing so, he joined in a long tradition of Dutch landscape painters, such as the 17th century masters Hendrick Avercamp and Aert van der Neer. Apol depicted every season, but winterscapes formed the larger part of his oeuvre. His big break came in 1875 when the Rijksmuseum acquired a monumental painting of the Hague forest of his hand.
At the young age of fifteen, Louis Apol had a fenomenal teacher in the Romantic landscape-artist JF Hoppenbrouwers. His influence is clearly visible in the delicately painted icescapes Apol painted in the 1870-ies. Upon his debut as an artist in 1869 at the Salon for live masters in The Hague, fellow-painter Andreas Schelfhout spoke the prophetic words: ‘That boy is sure to go far’. And his artistry was soon recognised on a much broader scale, as he was rewarded a Royal subsidy and took part in many expositions.
In 1880, Apol joined the mission of the schooner ‘Willem Barentsz’ to Spitsbergen (Nova Zembla). The many impressions and experiences, and sketches, provided him with a lifelong inspiration for painting. Louis Apol was quite reluctant to add too many details to his paintings. He generally painted one point of focus: a single hiker on a forest path, a single sled or a single horse and carriage. His brushstrokes gradually became more loose, and eventually, in the eighties, his work leaned more toward the impressionist side, than anything else. Apol intented for the set scene and atmosphere, the muted beauty of winter that has just fallen over a landscape, to take centre stage. Apol was very successful as an artist, as he was very much able to make a living out of his craft. Renowned galleries such as Goupil and Van Wisselingh sold many of Apol’s work to Anglo-Saxon countries. Apol became the best-known winter landscape-painter of the Hague School.
Louis Apol was a much-decorated artist, with, as a higlight, a gold medal at the Barcelona Word Fair. Nearly every Dutch museum has Apol’s work in collection.