Emile van Marcke - The Approach of a Storm - circa 1872
oil on canvas, Height: 146 cm (57.5 in). Width: 201 cm (79.1 in)
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, United States
The son of a Flemish artist employed at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, Van Marcke himself decorated porcelains at Sèvres for nine years. An older colleague, Constant Troyon, encouraged him to paint in oils directly from nature. In 1857, Van Marcke began to submit paintings to the Paris salons, and, within a few years he had gained renown as a painter of cattle, a category of art that appealed to city dwellers in Europe and America in the late 19th century. In this scene, Van Marcke depicts cattle grazing in the swamps of the Landes, a region along the southwest coast of France. In the background, a cowherd walking on stilts tends the cattle.