Who belongs to the school ?
What are the conditions that determine who belongs to the Liège school of landscape painting?
To have painted the Ardennes, Fagne, Campine, Hesbaye or Condroz regions? "Impressionist tendencies in Wallonia"? To come from Liège (be a Liégeois) and to have painted only landscape pictures? To have a particular approach to the local landscape? Or...
Is it the place of birth, the place of residence, the place of death? To have graduated from the academy, from Saint-Luc or from some other institution, or to be a self-taught painter?
Do we have to exclude groups with a strong local bias, such as the "intimist painters from Verviers" (intimistes verviétois)?
Here is the answer that Georges Schmits gave in 2002: "When he worked as curator of the Verviers Fine Arts Museum, Vladimir Bronowsky organised an exhibition entitled Fagnes and Ardennes in the collections of the Verviers Museums". He too has identified the landscape movement; he situates it at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth century and he notes how intensely the people of Verviers "show their interest and affection for the boggy solitude of the Fagnes and the Ardennes countryside". Dégel à Stavelot (Thaw in Stavelot) by Degouve and Vallée de l'Ourthe (The Ourthe Valley) by Auguste Donnay were shown during the exhibition. But it's the Fagnes we are interested in. Even people from Brussels suddenly felt, at heart, as if they came from the Fagnes. As for the people of Liège (the Liégeois), they turned up in large numbers.
In short, the choice of the artists to be included in this dictionary has been made according to one or more of these criteria.
An essential element is accessibility to the artists through their works, made possible by art dealers. Through this commercial activity, the contacts with art-lovers and the proximity of the artists or their works, we can see the interest of Liège landscape paintings, although there is indisputably some kind of local sentimentality linked to the land (terroir) in there too.
We would by no means go as far as to claim that the Liège local landscape movement is the only one in the world that is worthwhile, but it is as interesting as any other, if not more so. There are some who would tell us it is outmoded; yet we are fond of our landscape paintings and of the artists, through their artistic creation!