Willy Martens (1856-1927)

The Dutch painter Willy Martens (1856-1927)  was educated at the Amsterdam National Academy under August Allebe and B. Wijnveld and later worked there as well as with Bonnat in Paris. He received the legion de Honneur in 1889. Marens exhibited in Paris securing an honourable mention in 1886 and exhibiting again in 1900 when he was a non competing entrant and served on the jury. He was later Director of H W Mesdag National Museum until 1924. Martens was a painter of genre, portraits, landscapes and paintings of peasants both in interiors and outdoors in the landscape with animals. He very much painted in the style of the Larens School - the name of an art colony located in the Dutch village, Laren, in the Gooi near Hilversum. The artists of this offshoot of the Hague School chose the inhabitants of Laren and the surrounding landscape as the subject of their art. Around 1870, the painter, Jozef Israëls, discovered the village of Laren. He visited often with his son, Isaac, whom he instructed in outdoor painting. His enthusiasm for Laren, and the surrounding landscape and agricultural activity, was infectious, and other artists from the Pulchri Studio began to join him. Martens was a member and chairman of the Pulchri Studio, a Hague based artist's society. He was also a member of Arti et Amicitae in Amsterdam. He died in the Hague in 1927.