Cornelis Le Mair
Born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands in 1944, fine arts painter Cornelis le Mair can rightfully be called a natural talent. At barely five years old, he had to show his drawings to all of the other Kindergarten classes. After finishing High School, he started his art studies at the Kunstacademie in Den Bosch.
For the talented Le Mair however, this art education is limited to teaching “free expression” and a talent for drawing is considered an obstacle on the way to finding “true art”. The teachers there are not able to instruct him in the things he finds interesting. He heeds the advise of a helpful teacher and switches over to the Koninklijke Kunstacademie in Antwerp in 1965, where the old painting techniques are still being taught. Fortunately his teacher, professor Victor Dolphijn, takes these traditional painting techniques seriously. In 1968, le Mair graduates “cum laude” in portrait and figure painting and, guided by Dolphijn, starts painting still lifes, a subject he has continually learned to master. In 1973, Le Mair moves to a farm in the countryside in the vicinity of the city where he was born, and starts his career as a fine arts painter.
The paintings of Le Mair can justifiably be compared to those of the Old Masters, sometimes exposing him to criticism by the more modern leaning art reviewers. But for the viewer who pays attention, le Mair’s paintings show a very unique identity.
Cornelis le Mair is a multi-talented man. Besides being a painter of portraits, figures, still lifes and landscapes, his interests span a wide spectrum: Architecture, Sculpture, Music and Interior Design among them. Occasionally he exchanges his painting brush for a writing pen and in 2002 he finished his novel “Vanitas”. Publisher In De Knipscheer will also introduce a new book of essays: “Het Edele Ambacht” (The Noble Trade), that will address different aspects of traditional fine art painting.
Le Mair’s farmhouse, decorated and furnished to his own vision, has been filmed, photographed and written about on many occasions. Multiple articles in magazines and many a television program have been devoted to this eclectic and unique domicile. Exhibitions of his works received major media attention and drew great crowds, especially the retrospective exhibition at the Museum Kempenland in 1994, the one-man exhibitions at the Castle of Zeist in 1998 and 2004, as well as the retrospective exhibition at the Westfries Museum in 1999.
In addition, Museum Kempenland organized a special exhibit in 2004 showcasing a scale model of le Mair’s fantasy building complex, “Vanitas Palace”.