CLAYS Paul-Jean


Oil on panel: 41 x 62 cm / 16.1 x 24.4 ins
Signed lower right

Painter of seascapes.

Paul-Jean Clays was a former ship’s boy. He studied in Paris under Charles Suisse and Baron Jean Antoine Théodore Gudin. He settled successively in Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels. He also stayed in Holland, generally in Dordrecht.

Few painters have imparted such a uniform tendency to the general evolution of their personality. In this respect he belongs to the School of Lamorinière and the Schaefels brothers. All his paintings are distinguished by the freshness of aspect, the charm of the tonality, the transparent softness of treatment and the calm of their expression.

Clays was one of the first painters to refute the conventions of the Academy and a whole generation understood the lesson of his works and his will. He was also one of the first to open the way to realism and to undermine, in the minds of his contemporaries, the absurd dogma of the hierarchy of manner.


Bruges 1819 - Schaerbeek (Brussels) 1900
Belgian School

Antwerp - Bruges - Brussels - Ghent - Liège - Roulers

P. & V. Berko, "Dictionary of Belgian painters born betweeen 1750 & 1875", Knokke 1981, p.101-103.
P. & V. Berko, "Seascapes of Belgian Painters born between 1750 & 1875", Knokke 1984, p. 45-55.