1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gallait, Louis

GALLAIT, LOUIS (1810–1887), Belgian painter, was born at Tournay, in Hainaut, Belgium, on the 9th of May 1810. He first studied in his native town under Hennequin. In 1832 his first picture, “Tribute to Caesar,” won a prize at the exhibition at Ghent. He then went to Antwerp to prosecute his studies under Mathieu Ignace Van Brée, and in the following year exhibited at the Brussels Salon “Christ Healing the Blind.” This picture was purchased by subscription and placed in the cathedral at Tournay. Gallait next went to Paris, whence he sent to the Belgian Salons “Job on the Dunghill,” “Montaigne Visiting Tasso in Prison”; and, in 1841, “The Abdication of Charles V.,” in the Brussels Gallery. This was hailed as a triumph, and gained for the painter a European reputation. Official invitations then caused him to settle at Brussels, where he died on the 20th of November 1887. Among his greater works may be named: “The Last Honours paid to Counts Egmont and Horn by the Corporations of the Town of Brussels,” now at Tournay; “The Death of Egmont,” in the Berlin gallery; the “Coronation of Baudouin, Emperor of Constantinople,” painted for Versailles; “The Temptation of St Anthony,” in the palace at Brussels; “The Siege of Antioch,” “Art and Liberty,” a “Portrait of M. B. Dumortier” and “The Plague at Tournay,” all in the Brussels gallery. “A Gipsy Woman and her Children” was painted in 1852. “M. Gallait has all the gifts that may be acquired by work, taste, judgment and determination,” wrote Théophile Gautier; his art is that of a man of tact, a skilled painter, happy in his dramatic treatment but superficial. No doubt, this Walloon artist, following the example of the Flemings of the Renaissance and the treatment of Belgian classical painters and the French Romantic school, sincerely aimed at truth; unfortunately, misled by contemporary taste, he could not conceive of it excepting as dressed in sentimentality. As an artist employed by the State he exercised considerable influence, and for a long period he was the leader of public taste in Brussels.

See Teichlin, Louis Gallait und die Malerei in Deutschland (1853); J. Dujardin, L’Art flamand (1899); C. Lemonnier, Histoire des beaux-arts en Belgique (1881).