Barbara Elisabeth van Houten Biography

Barbara Elisabeth van Houten




Barbara (or Barbera) Elisabeth van Houten was born on April 8, 1863 in Groningen, Netherlands. She was the niece of Dutch painters Sina van Houten Mesdag and Hendrig Mesdag, who advised her with her artistic endeavors. She began studying art at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, finishing her studies with August Allebé at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.

She began her etching career primarily as a reproductive etcher creating images after Millet, Daubigney, Jules Dupre and others. She began to create her own imagery, mostly directly from nature, of semi-abstract still life and figurative subjects, done with strongly bitten lines. She exhibited these works in the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. Barbara worked as a painter but was best known for her etchings, two of which were included in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in the USA. Her painting, Girl in a Chair, was included in the 1905 book Women Painters of the World.

Van Houten was a member of the Dutch Etching Club in 1880 and participated in their exhibitions in Holland. The club published one of her etchings in their portfolio in 1889.

Barbara E. van Houten died in the Netherlands at The Hague on May 27, 1950.