Tag Archives: Union Match

The smoking kid, a watercolor painting from 1947

68 years ago, in 1947, Bob De Moor painted a drawing which has been part of the toilet ornaments of the family De Moor for years. Not surprisingly the drawing remained in the archives of the family De Moor and we can show it today for the very first time.

A 1947 drawing by Bob De Moor.
A 1947 drawing by Bob De Moor.

The watercolor painting shows a kid smoking a tobacco pipe, and looking at the kid’s body posture, his dad or mother just caught him in the act; you can see the light shining from the left, indicating someone opened the door. The drawing offers an insight in how the equipment of a smoker in 1947 looked like. You’ll see a collection of tobacco pipes gathered on the wall in a holder that has the text “Moge het pijpje u smaken en ‘t leven u gelukkig maken” which can be freely translated as “Enjoy your pipe and let life make you happy”. These wooden holders were omnipresent in many households back then and the one represented on this painting was actually commercially available.

The painting, signed R. De Moor ’47, also features a tobacco mug where tobacco was kept in plus a Union Match box with matches laying on the floor.

There’s also a detail showing that the kid’s family is not all that rich, he has no belt but uses a rope to keep his pants up. And staying with the kid, his shoes are typical Bob De Moor shoes for that time, look at the Hobbel & Sobbel shoes for instance and compare. You’ll clearly see a similarity.

A still life by Bob De Moor from 1947

A week ago we presented a watercolor painted landscape by Bob De Moor. Today we present you a still life, also from 1947. The watercolor painting comes from the private collection of the family De Moor and it’s the first time that it is being presented to a larger public.

Bob De Moor still life painting from 1947.
Bob De Moor still life painting from 1947.

As you’ll notice, Bob De Moor would never again use these kind of still life subjects in later paintings. Signed with R. De Moor (from Robert De Moor, his real name) the painting shows a carafe holding what we think might be jenever (also known as genièvre, genever, peket, or in the English-speaking world as Holland gin or Dutch gin), the small glass looks like a jenever glass, hence why. Some might suggest this to be a wine carafe, but wine was not that much consumed by the middle class in Flanders around that time.’Normal’ people in Flanders drank jenever, often called a ‘klare’.

The well-known Union Match brand of matchboxes.
The well-known Union Match brand of matchboxes.

The clay mug you see, in the middle is not a beer mug, but a mug where tobacco was kept in. The tobacco pipe and ash tray confirms we are right. You also see a matchbox, from the Union Match brand, the yellow color is the give-away detail. Union Match was quite a famous match(box) producing company based in Geraardsbergen, Belgium. The brand would disappear in 1998.

This painting shows that Bob De Moor was still looking to perfect his skills, not only as far as coloring is concerned but also regarding the drawing itself.

Some historical background, the art of painting a still life developed as a separate category in the Low Countries in the last quarter of the 16th century. The English term still life derives from the Dutch word stilleven while Romance languages tend to use terms meaning dead nature.

The picture shown here is not a scan, but a photo, we expect to have a proper scan in the future and will replace it as this happens.