Henry Leonardus van den Houten (1801-17 February 1879), was a Dutch-Australian painter, lithographer and art teacher.
Van den Houten received his artistic education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, where he studied under the Dutch painter Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove. Van den Houten later became a member of the Pulchri Studio, an artists’ society based in The Hague that was founded in 1847.
He lived in Leiden during the 1820s and 1830s, and it was there that he first began to paint landscapes. He was particularly drawn to the Dutch countryside around Leiden, which he depicted in his paintings with great attention to detail.
While in Leiden, van den Houten also became associated with a group of artists known as the Leiden Romanticists. The Leiden Romanticists were interested in painting scenes from everyday life, as well as landscapes and historical subjects, and they had a significant influence on van den Houten’s early work.
Van den Houten’s early works show the influence of the Dutch Romanticism movement, which was characterized by an interest in the natural world and a fascination with the sublime. Later in his career, he began to experiment with a more naturalistic style, which he further developed in Australia.
Spurred on by the excitement of the goldrush he emigrating in 1853, with his family, to Victoria, Australia. He didn’t stay long here and moved to Melbourne. Here he established himself as a painter and art teacher. He quickly became well known for his paintings of the Australian bush, which he depicted with great accuracy and attention to detail.
Van den Houten’s paintings were highly sought after by collectors, and he was regularly commissioned to paint portraits, landscapes, and other subjects. He also taught art to students, including some who went on to become notable Australian artists, such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton.
In addition to his work as an artist and teacher, van den Houten was also involved in the cultural life of Melbourne, where he was a founding member of the Victorian Society of Fine Arts. He exhibited his paintings at the society’s exhibitions and also showed his work at other exhibitions in Australia and overseas.
His work was displayed at the Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition in 1875. Van den Houten continued to paint and teach art until his death in 1879. He was buried at the St Kilda Cemetery.
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