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article imageDutch artist Cornelis le Mair, an enduring and captivating talent Special

By Adrian Peel     May 21, 2016 in Entertainment
Eindhoven - The Dutch maestro, surely one of the most naturally gifted painters around today, is as busy as ever - though he found time in his schedule to talk to Digital Journal.
Born in Eindhoven in 1944, this true master of fine art - a former child prodigy - began studying at the Koninklijke Kunstacademie in Antwerp in 1965 (under the tutelage of Victor Dolphyn), where the traditional painting techniques he favoured were still being taught.
In 1968 the painter, sculptor, interior designer, musician and writer graduated with distinction in portrait and figure painting and these days works from his home in the countryside near the city of his birth.
His often breathtaking works of beauty remain very much in demand - so much so, that forgeries have appeared allegedly signed by Mr. Le Mair himself. An example of this was when renowned auction house Sotheby's of London once acquired a painting by Belgian artist Frans Mortelmans bearing an erroneous Cornelis le Mair signature.
 Bianca with Owl
'Bianca with Owl'
Cornelis le Mair
How are you? What have you been doing recently?
"I'm fine, thank you. I completed two still lifes and a self-portrait recently. The still lifes are now being exhibited in a gallery in Heusden and the self-portrait is in the Museum of Breda."
How many paintings are you working on at the present time?
"At the moment I am working on flower still lifes and on the portrait of a lady. To create a large still life, I started with a sketch and prepared a panel. I'm starting on the painting tomorrow."
What inspires you to paint? Do you regularly feel inspired?
"My own imagination usually inspires my work. I get countless ideas for still lifes when I look at, for example, my collection of Chinese porcelain and other beautiful antiquities. My portraits are usually made to order. I have no lack of inspiration."
Cornelis le Mair
Of all your artworks, do you have a favourite piece?
"It's hard for me to say which of my paintings is the most beautiful or the best because I always think I could have done better. I'm never completely satisfied."
What has been your most challenging piece?
"I think my large triptych that I worked on for ten years. I doubted for a long time that I could complete it. The painted frame especially was an enormous job."
How do you find people to pose for you?
"I regularly receive post or phone calls from girls who offer to pose as models. If I like them I hire them and pay them for their services. At the moment I have four models who have worked for me for almost ten years."
Cornelis le Mair
What precautions do you take to combat the amount of fraud and counterfeiting involved in the art business?
"Sometimes paintings turn up that are signed with my name, such as the copy of a still life by Mortelmans. In most cases the forgers can't be traced. On my site I advise buyers who doubt the authenticity of a painting with my signature to contact me for a correct attribution."
Your portraits seem to celebrate traditional depictions of beauty. Are you a bit of a traditionalist at heart? How would you describe your style?
"I work according to the insights of visual arts, which were used and respected for five hundred years, right up to the inception of modernism. Apart from that, I have absolutely no affinity with any traditions. I would like to call my style 'classical,' which means that visual perception is my starting point."
Still Life with Pass Glass  Chinese Jug and Fruit on a Tin Platter.
Still Life with Pass Glass, Chinese Jug and Fruit on a Tin Platter.
Cornelis le mair
You have often been compared to the 'Old Masters.' What are your thoughts on modernism in art?
"On principle I think everyone should be free to produce what their heart tells them to. My personal choice is for the classical arts and so therefore not for modernism. Having said that, I do not wish to defend my preference and people are free to think what they like about my work."
When did you start painting and how old were you when you realised you had a special talent for it?
"My mother told me that I could already draw much better than other children when I was three. Later I discovered this myself and pursued it. I don't remember any special moment when I first thought that I was a talented artist. It was a very gradual process."
Still Life with Chinese Dish  Grapes and Bekerschroef.
Still Life with Chinese Dish, Grapes and Bekerschroef.
Cornelis le Mair
Which other artists do you particularly admire? What did you learn from Victor Dolphyn?
"There are many painters from the past whose work I admire and whose works of art have encouraged me. I can't really point to a special artist, although I do love Rembrandt's late portraits and the Amsterdam still lifes by Willem Kalf. My teacher Victor Dolphyn was a reasonably good painter and in certain ways he was an example to me at the time. But he had no educational talent and said almost nothing instructive or constructive about the work of his students."
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any ambitions left to fulfill?
"I have no concrete plans to take on any large paintings but I still want to think about that... I'm working on my music, building models of imaginary palaces and writing books on art. I hope to be able to do this for as long as possible."
To learn more about Cornelis le Mair, visit his official website.
Voor de Nederlandse versie, klik hier.
More about Cornelis le Mair, dutch art, Breda's Museum, triptych, Frans Mortelmans
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