Private Collection, USA
Eugène Verboeckhoven was born in Warneton. The son of the Belgian sculptor Barthelemy Verboeckhoven, he studied with his father and began his career as a sculptor. He studied painting at the Academy in Gent under Albert Voituron from 1816 to 1818. From 1818, he worked under tutelage of Balthazar Ommeganck. His time with Ommenanck appears to have had a profound influence upon the younger artist, apparent in his best works.
Verboeckhoven made his debut at the Gent Salon in 1820 to great praise. His success was immense and during his long and prolific career he traveled and exhibited throughout Europe. Among the many honors he received were the Legion of Honour, Order of Leopold, Order of the Christ of Portugal, and the Iron Cross. Verboeckhoven established a studio in Brussels where he taught and influenced a younger generation of artists and collaborated with many important contemporaries including De Jonghe, De Noter, Verwee, and Koekkoek. Eugène Verboeckhoven died in 1881 in Brussels.
In our painting, Verboeckhoven masterfully captures the life of sheepherders in a provincial setting. Two sheepherders are walking side by side behind their herd after a day out on the field with a doggie in tow. The sky is filled with grey, lavender and yellow clouds as the sun is about to set. The background depicts a village and its church. Verboeckhoven’s attention to detail and use of light is remarkable, perfectly rendering the texture of the sheeps’ wool and the dog’s fur.