Moonlight | Joachim Hierschel-Minerbi (Prof. Van Hier) | Date unknown
On our last visit to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, we remembered to write down the name of an artist we noticed the previous time we went there: a Professor Van Hier. We tried to get a picture of the painting exhibited in the museum, but it was impossible. Nobody seems to know the artist. Moreso, there is very little information on the Internet. The only site I found is owned by Frank Gent, with whom I had the opportunity to talk.
Not discouraged by the lack of resources, today we would like you to know Van Hier, an artist who, owner of a unique talent is, until today, unjustly unknown.
Joachim Hierschel-Minerbi was born in 1834 in Trieste, then part of the Austrian Empire. He travelled through Europe painting landscapes and, in the Netherlands, he chooses the pseudonym of Van Hier, with whom signed his paintings.
The artist commonly worked in the impressionist fashion and portrayed scenes of rivers and rural landscapes. Many of these paintings are good, but apparently, Van Hier had a phase in which he was neater and more realistic which, in my opinion, is much more interesting. Moonlight, like the canvas we saw at the museum, is one of these paintings. Van Hier here shows a lake with sailboats in the evening. The boats are anchored and seem empty, except for the boat on the left, where the artist suggests figures and in which we can see a small fire, probably used for cooking. The atmosphere is cold. The moonlight fades through the fog and is reflected in the still water. But one of the most interesting things, and this is key in the artist, is the exceptional use of empty space: Van Hier covers the sky and the lake with the same type of gradient, blurring the boundaries between the different fields of the landscape and increasing the overall sense of calm and tranquility.