Paul Tetar van Elven (1823 – 1896)

Paul Constantin Dominique Tetar van Elven is born in Antwerp as the youngest son of Hendrik Tetar van Elven and his second wife Dorothea de Hosson. Mimicking his two much older half-brothers Martinus and Jean Baptist, Paul also wants to become an artist. He attends, amongst others, the Royal Academies in Amsterdam and The Hague. At first he becomes an engraver, later he chooses to learn the art of painting.

In 1853 he marries Louise Schmit, with whom he travels regularly. In particular they visit the large museums in Paris and Dresden, where he makes copies of famous paintings, especially history-paintings. Apart from that he paints portraits of friends and family, and portraits on commission. The many drawings in the museum show why Paul Tetar is appointed as a teacher in hand drawing at the Polytechnical School, now the Technical University  in Delft. He is a skilful draughtsman.

After Louise passed away, Tetar remarries in 1883 with the 30 years younger Mechelina van Duuren. In 1894 after his retirement, they move from Delft to Scheveningen, where they buy a large house, which they called ‘Ars longa, vita brevis’ (art lasts long, life is short).  Paul Tetar dies there in 1896. The ‘last of the history-painters’ has departed. Paul Tetar was childless. His house in Delft on the Koornmarkt he leaves to the city of Delft.

Louise Schmit (1823 – 1883)

Louise Catharina Christina Schmit is born in The Hague, a daughter of Carel Leendert Schmit and Elisabeth Luning. Her father works at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (the Home Office). Tetar portrays Louise several times. Better still, in many of his paintings the facial features of Louise can be recognised. Louise has poor health and dies in 1883. After her death quickly he marries Mechelina van Duuren. Strange enough no portraits are known of her. After the death of Paul Tetar she marries in 1899 Gerrit Anne Pitlo (1848 –1918).