Alaskan Artist JAN VAN EMPEL Signed Original Alaska Village Oil Painting

Jan Van Empel (1880 - 1940) signed original oil painting of Alaskan village. Signed at lower left. Most likely original wood frame measures 17.25" x 13.5". Painting measures 13.5" x 9.5". Frame has repair at lower left corner. Recently cleaned

 As found on AskArt: Jan Van Empel is no doubt the first modernist style painter of Alaska scenes, which makes him very important to Alaska. He was born in Amsterdam in the late 19th century. Jan emigrated to the United States and by 1918 was already regarded as an important modernist painter. Jan Van Empel's work was featured in the inaugural exposition of the Whitney Club in 1918 along with the other great American modernist painters, Robert Henri, William Glackens, John Sloan, George Luks, and Arthur B. Davies. Jan Van Empel was a close friend of Robert Henri and "Who Was Who of American Art" biography states he was a student of Robert Henri.

Jan Van Empel traveled to Alaska to make his mark. It is recorded by the Seward, Alaska Preservation Society that Jan Van Empel arrived in Seward, Alaska in 1924. Newspaper clippings called him a "Dutch trained artist" and he was painting modernist scenes of the coast around Resurrection Bay and Seward, Alaska. In 1925 the people of Seward gathered donations of $650 and commissioned Jan Van Empel to paint a "Reredos" mural for Saint Peters Church. He painted from September to November of that year. The work of art is a modernist scene of the resurrection for the rear of the churches altar. Instead of Apostles the painting includes Eskimos, a trapper a fisherman and a pioneer woman make up the foreground. The prospector is a self-portrait of Van Empel with the two angels being portraits of his two sisters. The empty tomb is shown against the mountains and waters of Resurrection Bay.

Records show that Van Empel exhibited paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art has nine published works in its collection. Jan Van Empel is mostly known for his coastal landscapes. He is most certainly the most early modernist scene painter in Alaska during the early 1920s.