The Dutch painter Willy Martens (1856-1927) is well known by his decorative paintings in the Van Gijn Museum in Dordrecht and the Royal Archives (a building on the premises of the Noordeinde Palace in the Hague which the King uses as his workoffice).
The decoration of the ceiling and walls of the dining room in Dordrecht, was commissioned in 1886 by the wealthy banker and art collector Simon van Gijn (1836-1922). Martens painted the so called imitation gobelins with pre-historical scenes, during a vacation. He was living in Paris then, as a portrait painter. In Paris Martens had been a pupil of the famous painter of historical scenes Fernand Cormon (1845-1924), and the portrait painter Léon Bonnat (1833-1922).
The Dutch Queen Wilhelmina held Martens in high esteem. The portrait painting he made of her, was very dear to her. As a portrait painter Martens belongs to the so-called naturalistic school. Several Dutch Museums have portrait paintings by Martens in their collection. His outstanding qualities as a painter can be seen on the portrait he made of the banker and art collector Daniël Franken (1838-1898) which nowadays belongs to the collection of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. Ars Decora offers a portrait of a Dutch aristocratic lady, mrs Gretha Eschauzier.
Wed, 08 March