Still Life - SA - DE158

Still Life - SA - DE158, 31" X 26", Inv#43512339
oil on board
Still Life

Still Life, 31" X 24", Inv#43512338
Portrait

Portrait, 28" X 23", Inv#15108089
oil on board
Nude - SA - DE134

Nude - SA - DE134, 71" X 39", Inv#31013773
oil on board
Flora with Lute - SA - DE157

Flora with Lute - SA - DE157, 78" X 39", Inv#43536628
oil on board
Eva With Violin

Eva With Violin, 44" X 32", Inv#31015773
oil on board

Le Mair was born in Eindhoven, The Netherlands in 1944. He began drawing and painting at the young age of five and while in kindergarten, he was often made to show his paintings in other classes even though he was shy about doing so. “When I could not play outside because of bad weather, I would sit in my bedroom and would draw.” His early art studies were widely influenced by the Rembrandt exhibit in the Rijksmuseum (1956) that he attended with his father. There le Mair was inspired by the Old Masters and “the desire to unravel all the mysteries hidden under the cracked varnish” began.

Just after his eighteenth birthday, le Mair was accepted into military service where his lack of conforming led him to a maximum solitary confinement sentence. After a month in training, the army physician and le Mair agreed that he was born to be an artist and released le Mair from military services.

Once he returned home, with the encouragement from his parents, le Mair began his art schooling at the Art Academy (Kustacademie) in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. There he found that the school was geared for modernism and after painting a portrait of a fellow classmate, his teachers advised le Mair to look for a school where the traditional ideas were still taught. Longing to study the classical arts, he applied and was accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts (Koninklijke Kunstacademie) in Antwerp, Belgium in 1965. After studying under Professor Victor Dolphijn, le Mair graduated cum laude in portrait and figure paintings in 1968. He was then promoted to study as a student of the Higher Institute, a structure at a higher university level where he studied under Rik Slabbinck. After realizing that Slabbinck’s direction was hypermoderistic, le Mair left the Academy. In 1970 he moved back to Eindhoven with his wife and child where he established himself as an independent painter, transforming his homes sunroom into his studio.

Cornelis le Mair works in the best of three traditions – the Renaissance, the Romantic, and the Modern. His paintings are inspired by the artistic elements, composition, working light and shadow, and body positions seen in those of the Old Masters, but at the same time have their own identity through his use of wider brushstrokes.

When creating these classically inspired pieces, le Mair uses a semi-transparent painting technique in which he does not mix his colors while they are wet. Instead he adds transparent layers of colors – darkest to lightest – in order to create the beauty and depth in each piece. He begins by applying white gesso to his surface. Le Mair then applies a brownish gray primer to even the tone of his background. After his primer has dried he draws his outline with a thin brush and acrylic paint. He then creates the under painting in order to distinguish shadows and highlights in the piece. After all of the preparation work is complete, le Mair then begins to paint, with oils, his transparent layers of colors onto his surface. After all layers are dry, the painting is finished with a varnish for protection.

His pieces are created with a feeling of form, color, nuance, drama, distinction, relationships, balance, effect, and stability and convey a certain expression of timelessness.