[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
Meulenaere, F. J. (dates unknown)
Twilight Maritime Scene
oil on board / 6.5 inches by 10.5 inches
Meulenaere is likely a Belgian name originating in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking provinces of bilingual Belgium. There is a marine painter named Edmond de Meulenaere known primarily for maritime scenes, but the signature here clearly indicates “F. J.” Genealogical websites have thus far not been fruitful.
An intriguing possibility, though remote, comes via google: an annual shipping directory lists “F. J. Meulenaere” as captain of the eighty-one-ton sailing vessel “Désiré”, a goelette or schooner, sailing out of Gand (Ghent). It’s poetic to imagine the captain of an ocean-going vessel painting the environment of his own labors.
Whoever he may have been, Meulenaere joins a number of other marine painters represented here in landlocked Iowa, a craving to live on the coast, whereas coastal residents rarely reciprocate.