“ He loves me...he loves me not”, this genre portrait of a female beauty with a chamomile in hand was executed in the last quarter of 19th Century by famous Belgian genre and portrait painter Leon Herbo 1850 Templeuve - 1907 Ixelles). A pupil of Legendre and Stallaert at both the Academies of Tournai and Brussels, Herbo mastered the art of fine detail. He then continued his studies in France, Germany and Italy before returning to settle in Brussels. His debut exhibition was in 1875, and he took part in exhibits throughout Europe. He was a prolific artist and it is believed that he produced over 1200 paintings during his lifetime.
In 1876, Herbo, Julien Dillens and Emile Namur founded L’Essor, the Belgian realist school. The group’s members were concerned with realism, each of them, however, finding their own style and emphasizing their varied personalities. The Brussels based group organized annual exhibitions from 1876 – 1881, as well as later exhibitions for its members in Oestde, Antwerp and London. In 1891, on the occasion of the group’s 15th anniversary, the “Essorians” opened at the Brussels Museum with a historic retrospective exhibition of the works of their founding members; among them were a number of works by Herbo.
In 1889 Herbo received an Honorable Mention at the Universal Exposition in Paris and was made a Knight of the Order of Leopold. He continued working in Brussels and began teaching at the Academy, where he would soon take over as Director.Today, examples of his work can be found in both public and private collections.
Literature: lexicons Thieme/Becker (in German); in French: Benezit; Biographie nationale de Belgique; Dictionnaire des peintres belges du XIVe siècle à nos jours, Brussel, 1994.
Inscription: signed upper right.
Technique: oil on wood. Luxuriously original period gold-plated frame.
Measurements: unframed w 21 5/8 " x h 26 1/3 " (55 x 67 cm), framed w 33 1/8" x h 37 3/4" (84 x 96cm).
Condition: in good condition.