Edward Portielje was born in Antwerp, Belgium on February 8, 1861 and died there on December 18, 1949.
He was part of the famed Portielje family of artists and was the youngest son of Jan Portielje and the brother of Gerard, also an artist. Edward, like his father and brother was a genre painter.
In 1873, Edward studied at the Antwerp Atheneum and before and after his time in this school, he took classes at the Academy of Fine Art in Antwerp. Even at this early age of fourteen, he was already praised for his talent and won numerous prizes. At the Academy, he won first prize for his drawing as awarded by his teacher, Dujardin, one of the leading artists of the Antwerp School in the 19th century.
In 1877, Edward enrolled in full time classes at the Antwerp Academy. His teachers included Beaufaux, Nicolas De Keyser and Charles Verlat, all highly famed Belgian artists. In 1881, Edward was awarded second prize for excellence. Throughout this same period, he had also been receiving lessons from his father, Jan Portielje.
Portielje held his first foreign exhibition in The Hague in the Netherlands in 1887. In 1891, The Antwerp Salon sold his work to the Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Two years later, The Museum of Namur in Belgium also purchased one of his works during an exhibition; his painting was called, "Solace." By the end of the 19th century, he had also displayed his works in Mons and Reims, France as well as in Leige, Middelburg, Spa and Verviers, Belgium. In the meantime; he developed an extensive customer base from Antwerp to Brussels to Rotterdam. Portielje's reputation as a leading genre painter grew, capturing the attention of discerning collectors abroad, especially in the United Kingdom as well as the United States.
On the occasion of Edward's eightieth birthday, the newspaper, "De Dag" ran a feature on the artist. The article began as follows: "We have had the privilege to visit the workshop of one of the greatest living Flemish painters: Edward Portielje."
On December 18, 1949, Edward Portielje died in his apartment in the Antwerp Tower. The newspaper, "De Gazet van Antwerp" described him as follows: "With the death of Edward Portielje at the age of 89, we lose an important Antwerp figure in the world of art. This highly appreciated painter was considered to be one of the greatest artists over many years and scored an extraordinary success with every one of his exhibitions. His name will be definitively linked with Zeeland's little houses, a theme he made into a genre of its own through his technical virtuosity and exceptional productivity."
Today, Edward Portielje's works can be found in many public and private collections, worldwide. His work is also represented in the Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts, the Chicago Museum of Fine Art, the National Gallery in Melbourne and in museums in Sydney, Australia, Bourges, and Bordeaux, France.