Bernard Jean Corneille Pothast was born in Hai, Belgium on November 30, 1882 to Dutch parents.

He studied painting at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Holland between 1904 and 1907 and there he was particularly influenced by the master teacher and artist, August Allebe. He also went to Paris to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts and studied with the famed artist, Gabriel Ferrier. Pothast's favorite subject was the peasant family.

His peasant mothers, often shown instructing or caring for their young children are imbued with virtue and strength. Adept at both figure painting and still-life, he would place his charming groups in rustic interiors sparingly decorated with the family's humble possessions. These interiors were typically illuminated by the light of early or midday sunshine.

The rich industrial merchants living in Belgium and Holland were charmed by Pothast's renderings as they craved his simple but sentimental illustrations of peasant life. This afforded Pothast's a very lucrative living as an artist during his lifetime. Today, Bernard Pothast is considered one of the finest genre painters of his period. His paintings can now be found in important private and public collections, worldwide, including numerous museums in Europe and in the Fort Worth Museum, Fort Worth, Texas and the Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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