Developments in the 19th Century

 




Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map



 




Leon Spilliaert

(1881-1946)


 

(b Ostend, 28 July 1881; d Brussels, 23 Nov 1946).

Belgian painter and designer. His initial sources of inspiration were the bottles and flasks he saw in his father’s perfumery shop in Ostend. However, in 1889 he studied briefly at the Terenacademie in Bruges. His early work, already impregnated with Symbolism, was fed by his readings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Maurice Maeterlinck, for example. From February 1903 to January 1904 he worked for Edmond Deman, the Brussels publisher associated particularly with Emile Verhaeren, who encouraged him. In 1904 Spilliaert stayed in Paris, where he was on the fringe of Picasso’s circle and discovered the work of Munch and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose influences he acknowledged. He continued to spend most winters in Paris to keep in touch with the city’s cultural life. A stomach ulcer that gave him insomnia turned him into a nocturnal stroller, which gave rise to innumerable works in a mixture of watercolour, pastel, coloured pencil and Chinese ink. They revealed the beauties of Ostend by night: deserted dykes and quays, arcades, street-lamps shining through fog and mist. Ditch and Casino at Ostend (1908; Brussels, priv. col.) prefigures de Chirico. Between 1907 and 1913 he developed an original form of Symbolism, tinged with Expressionism and governed by a strict sense of synthesis. He painted numerous self-portraits, works steeped in mystery and melancholy (e.g. Woman in the Train, 1908; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.) and those inspired by the contrast between a solitary figure and the vastness of the sea or sky (e.g. Woman Bather, 1910; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.). He also created geometric landscapes that verged on abstraction and were unique for the period (e.g. Woman on the Dyke, 1908; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.). At the same time he was developing Art Nouveau motifs as in Pietà (1910; Brussels, Mus. Ixelles), where whiplash arabesques animate the waves. From 1912 he executed large-scale pastels (900*700 mm) of various harbour scenes, with large schematized figures that influenced Constant Permeke (e.g. Fisherman’s Wife, 1912). He moved in literary and cultural circles and was a friend of the Belgian playwright Fernand Crommelynck, as well as of Stefan Zweig who had followed his career from its beginnings.
 

 

 


Self-Portrait in Mirror


 


Self-Portrait
1907


 


The Posts


 


Vertigo, Magic Staircase


 


The Crossing


 


The Forbidden Fruit


 


L'Ocuyene



 


Portrait of Gorky



 


Woman in a Hat
1907


 


The Absinthe Drinker



 


Bathing
1907

 


Woman on the Road


 


Night


 


Swans


 


Moonlight and Light


 


Bathing Woman
1910

 


Le tunnel


 


La digue


 


Profil


 


La dame dans le train


 


Fille de pecheur


 


Vision. Elie sur le char de feu


 


Marine. Plage a maree basse


 


Port d'Ostende, quai avec deux figures


 


Port d'Ostende, quai avec chariot


 


Dirigeable dans son hangar


 


Printemps


 


Port de peche, Ostende


 


Autoportrait


 


Port


 


La lessive


 


Carnaval


 


Les mats


 


La chambre a coucher


 


Baigneuse


 


Salle de tables d'hotes


 


Galeries royales d'Ostende


 


Femme de pecheur face au bassin


 


Arbres, blanc et noir


 


Troncs de hetres


 


Le couple


 


Femme en pied


 


Le vent


 


Marine. La prele



 


Woman with a Large Hat


 


White Robes
1904

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