Private Collection, United States
Georgius Jacobus Johannes van Os was the son of Jan van Os (1744-1808), who was a successful still-life painter in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and who was Georgius’ teacher. Georgius’ sister, Maria Margaretha van Os (1779-1862), and his elder brother, Pieter Gerardus van Os (1776-1839), also became artists. Maria also mainly painted still-life subjects, while Pieter mostly gained renown with his landscapes and animal paintings. In 1809, Georgius van Os won an honourable mention in the annual contest of the Amsterdam artists’ society Felix Meritis having submitted a still-life watercolour. This is thought to have encouraged him to focus on still-life painting, but also, like his father did, he painted landscapes. As well as oils, he also excelled in watercolours. In addition, he also became a skilled lithographer. Initially he worked in The Hague, where his father had his studio from 1773 until his death in 1808, but subsequently he moved to Amsterdam. From 1812 onwards, he alternately spent periods of time in the Netherlands and in Paris, where he finally settled in 1826. In Paris he partly worked for the Sèvres porcelain manufacture. He also continued to exhibit his works in the Netherlands; on the occasion of an exhibition in The Hague in 1843, the Dutch queen bought three flower paintings by van Os. In his own time, Georgius van Os was considered to be a better and more successful still-life painter than his father. Particularly his later work was an important source of inspiration for pupils such as Hendrik Reekers (1815-1854).
Georgius van Os was a very prolific artist. Still life was his main subject, with a preference for floral compositions, fruit and feathered game, often in combination. Most of his work has a high degree of detail and finish, which he obviously adopted from his father, but there are also examples, mainly later works, that appear to have been painted rather quickly and mainly on effect. Due to a lack of dated works, the early development of Georgius van Os is somewhat unclear. It would seem that he initially mainly worked in watercolours. Many of his known watercolours appear to be early works that clearly show an inspiration from the still lifes of his father, Jan van Os. A group of such works is preserved at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. The first mention of paintings by Georgius Jacobus Johannes van Os stem from 1809 and 1810. Georgius van Os’ earliest known dated painting, from 1815, still shows some dependence on his father’s work, but by that time, he was clearly starting to develop his own style and idiom, which had taken shape by 1820.