Monday, 16 January 2012

Impressionism and Fauvism in Belgium around 1900

This time, instead of showing you one of my painting I'd like to share some of my influences instead. As you might know, I'm from Belgium and I can say that belgian painters have certainly inspired me since I've started painting and have probably been the spark that started this passion of mine. I particularly love the work of the impressionists and fauvists who mastered light, tones and colours with, in my humble view, sometimes even more power and beauty than some of the more famous impressionists in France at the same time. Here is below a selection of some of my favourite paintings from belgian painters, mostly produced around 1880-1930:

Albert Lemaitre - L'église Saint-Georges, Venise

Charles Hermans - Villa Mattei, campagne romaine

Ferdinand Schirren - Nu

Guillaume Vogels - Cabines sur la plage

Guillaume Vogels - Vue de plage

Guillaume Vogels - Péniche sur un canal

Guillaume Vogels - L'aurore,  Mer du Nord

James Ensor - Le nuage blanc

James Ensor - Mer grise

Jean Brusselmans - Femme à sa toilette

Maurice Sijs - Canards sur la Lys

Richard Baseleer - L'arc-en-ciel sur l'Escaut

Richard Baseleer - Aan de Schelde

Richard Heintz - Palais des Doges

Richard Heintz

Rik Wouters - Portrait du sculpteur

Rik Wouters - Autoportrait

Willem Paerels - Marine

Willem Paerels

Willem Paerels

Most of the images above are taken from two great books:
- L'Impressionisme et le Fauvisme en Belgique (Serge Goyens de Heusch)
- Le Fauvisme Brabançon - La collection François Van Haelen

For the little story, my uncle's ancestor (François Van Haelen) was the owner of a Brasserie in Brussels around 1915 where a group of belgian painters would regularly meet, eat and drink. As they were still unknown, they would sometimes exchange a painting for food and drink and make special commissions for François Van Haelen and his family. Although struggling at the time, most of those painters ended up being big names in the history of belgian painting, some of which I've displayed the paintings above, and François Van Haelen ended up with a marvellous collection of paintings.

Here are below some of the painters mentioned above during a life model session:

Painting class at l'Académie des Beaux Arts, Brussels
with Tytgat, Wéry, Paerels and Brusselmans in 1906

Looking at all this I can say I'm proud to be belgian and I hope that my tiny little contribution in the world of painting will do justice to those who have paved the way for me. 

ps: Also, I'm open to deals with inspired brasserie and restaurant owners willing to sponsor my work in exchange of lifelong unlimited fine dining and promising fame;) Just saying...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (Re-posted with spelling corrections!)
    What a nice selection, and I can see how they suit your taste. I particularly like the Guillaume Vogels and though I've heard of him have not really focused on his work so seeing these is a treat. I managed to get out today, such good light but only did one small painting, unfinished, or shall I post it and risk being told "Don't do any more" ...:-)

  3. Thanks Andrew! Guillaume Vogels is my favourite too. I remember photocopying some of his paintings and sticking it on my wall when I was a teenager hoping that one day I could paint something as beautiful as that. Looking forward to see your next post. And don't touch it anymore before posting it ;)

  4. Valerie, somehow I missed this post. So glad I found it. I did not know anything about Belgian painters and now I would like to learn more. There is so much history involved with art and each region has its own artists and unique history and styles. I will try to find the books you mentioned.
    In the US one of my favorite groups from the early 1900's are the Taos Circle Artists from northern New Mexico. Are you familiar at all with their work? Also the California Impressionists did some very nice work.

  5. By the way,I looked up Belgian Impressionists today and your blog came up as one of the first entries. Doug

  6. Thanks Douglas! I'm glad I got you interested in the Belgian painting history. (and glad google likes my blog;)) I had a look at the Taos Circle and I can see really something from them in your work, I understand your influences now.

  7. Hi Valerie, I completely missed this post too. Great stuff, especially for the misinformed like me who thought that Vlaminck, Derain and Dufy were 'it'. Also, I think I have at last found out how to comment without the machinery rejecting me. Tim

  8. Thanks Tim. Glad I made you discover some new belgian painters and very glad you manage to leave comments now :-)

  9. Really interesting web site Valérie, your passion is admirable as are your paintings. Rich Grinter

    1. Hi Rich, only saw your comment today! Thank you very much for the kind words!

  10. Valery, thank you for the nice post!

    I'm writing a series of articles in my blog about Belgian painters of 20-th and 30-th and having difficulties finding their early impressionist works.

    Your post is a great source!

    Ii fell in love with the Belgian modern art after I saw just one work, "The picnic" by Fritz van den Berghe in Basel.

  11. Thank you for your comment and glad you found the blog useful. It is amazing how there is so little on the net about this era of belgian painting, most of it is in books but you have to be lucky to find them! Good luck for the articles...

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