Van Goghs Favorites II: Hubert Herkomer and the School of English Social Realism

“There is something virile in it – something rugged – which attracts me strongly (…) In all these fellows I see an energy, a determination and a free, healthy, cheerful spirit that animate me. And in their work there is something lofty and dignified – even when they draw a dunghill.”
Vincent van Gogh, October 1882 (Letter R 16)

Unlike the already deceased Jean-Francois Millet, Van Gogh’s second great artistic model, Hubert Herkomer,
belonged to his own generation. Herkomer’s career offered a concrete projection screen for the late entrant who
was eager to learn. Only three years his senior, Herkomer, at the time during which Van Gogh just decided to
start a career as an artist, had already undergone a remarkable development, from a London-based illustrated
journal draughtsman to an internationally successful star painter. Until his early death in 1890, Van Gogh followed
the success story of his model with great interest. He envied the social acceptance Herkomer had gained
and even thought of visiting him in England to seek his patronage on his quest for a position as a social reportage
draughtsman. (…)

> PDF: Herkomer van_goghs_Favorites_engl

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