Contemporary realism oil painting
Yvonne Melchers, “Room with a View/Summer in Stresa,” oil on linen 40 x 40 cm

Meet this week’s top Realism Today Ambassador, Yvonne Melchers.

Amsterdam-based painter Yvonne Melchers (b. 1948, Haarlem, The Netherlands) studied one year at the Amsterdam Rietveld Art Academy in her early twenties, but did not dedicate herself to serious painting until she was 49, after recovering from a life-threatening illness.

From then on she has been mostly self-taught, working in both Amsterdam and near Siena, Italy, focusing on realistic figurative oil paintings.

Her main series are the Dutch North Sea coast, Rooms with a View, Portraits of modern Italian men and boys in historical costumes (Siena Palio Portraits), Italian Scenes, and a small series of Still Lifes. She creates portraits and other subjects by commission and is known for her crisp colors with the very limited palette of Claude Monet.

Some exhibitions in Italy, Spain, and in the US, but mostly in The Netherlands in galleries, at art fairs, and in the Museum Møhlmann every year. Selected at Summer Expo 2012, The Hague Gemeente (Municipal) Museum. Preselected at BP Portrait Award 2015 and 2018, Dutch Portrait Award 2017 and nominated for the Dutch Portrait Award 2019. Preselected for Figurativas Barcelona 2017 and 2019. Finalist at 14th ARC Salon Competition 2019. Published in magazines and numerous books on realistic/figurative work and in seven theme issues of PoetsArtists Magazine in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Added to Grandes Autores of the website in 2018. Invited with 120 stellar artists from around the world to participate in Exhibition “20×20” of Galería ArteLibre, which was held in Zaragoza and in MEAM Barcelona in 2019.

Recently received the announcement that one of her Siena Palio portraits has been selected by Editor-in-Chief Peter Trippi to be featured in the November/December issue of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine.

Her work is included in the collections of the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, of Museum Møhlmann in Appingedam, The Netherlands, and in numerous private collections around the world.

Contemporary realism portrait - Yvonne Melchers -
Yvonne Melchers, “Siena Palio XVI (Aquila/Eagle 1),” oil on linen, 40 x 40 cm

About “Siena Palio XVI (Aquila/Eagle 1)”

Modern Italian boys and men wear wigs and historical costumes. They are dressed up for the historical procession that precedes the Palio, the famous horse race that since 1287 takes place in Siena, Italy, twice a year. Siena is divided into 17 quarters that have odd names like Snail, Giraffe, Dragon, etc. They each have their own colorful flags and costumes made of the most beautiful fabrics.

In the 15 years that, for shorter or longer periods, I have lived and worked near Siena this event has always fascinated me and little by little the intention was formed to paint a series of realism portraits of these men in their magnificent costumes. Throughout the years I have studied them, made sketches and photos, chatted with them. Fourteen paintings are finished now; for the time being four more are on the easel. It is my tribute to my beloved Siena.

Contemporary realism oil painting
Yvonne Melchers, “Room with a View/Summer in Stresa,” oil on linen 40 x 40 cm

About “Room with a View/Summer in Stresa” (shown at top)

As long as I can remember I have dreamt of beautiful rooms with special views, preferably in Mediterranean countries. To open the shutters in the morning and be surprised by a sunlit landscape, in the distance the ever changing blues, greens, purples, and pinks of the sea or a lake … Those rooms were not always reserved for me, but fortunately enough as an artist I can create the desired view myself.

Without realizing it, I have been inspired by Pieter de Hooch (1629–1684), who is famous for his interiors with open doors and windows through which you can have a look outside.

Contemporary oil paintings
Yvonne Melchers, “The Innocent/North Sea Blues,” oil on linen 100 x 120 cm

About “The Innocent/North Sea Blues”

Born and raised in Haarlem, The Netherlands, I grew up at the beach of Bloemendaal. We spent long summers there, rain or shine. It was almost inevitable that later in life the North Sea would play a role in my art. The longing for that sea in its cool light and with its specific smells and sounds is always carried with me.

This large painting of the little girl running after a seagull was painted by commission for the Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam in 2010.

Learn more about the artist and her contemporary realism at

This article was originally published in 2020

Related > Browse portrait and figure workshop videos in the style of contemporary realism here.