Whitford Fine Art
6 Duke Street St James's
London SW1Y 6BN

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© Whitford Fine Art 2017

BELGIAN ART 1880 - 1930 - Masterpieces of the Avant-Garde

Whitford Fine Art
6 Duke Street St James's
SW1Y 6BN London

6 June - 11 July 2014
Monday - Friday
10am - 6pm

View E-Catalogue

During the late 1980s, Whitford Fine Art, London participated actively in the international reappraisal of the Modern Art Movements in Belgium during 1880-1930. Today, it is with great pleasure that Whitford Fine Art can look back on its active involvement of Belgian art. In a collaborative effort with Francis Maere Fine Arts from Ghent, Belgium, Whitford Fine Art is hosting an exhibition of Belgian Masterpieces illustrating the depth and quality of Belgian art.

Belgium's geographical situation has made it a forum of international artistic exchange throughout the centuries. As early as the 14th Century, Jan Van Eyck perfected the oil painting technique, which was eagerly adopted by the Italian Renaissance painters. Rulers over the world collected The Flemish Primitives, and Rubens and Van Dyck, rank amongst Belgium's finest Baroque exports.

During 1880-1930, Belgium was again at the point of international recognition with several art movements, representing the quintessential Belgian spirit transforming an outside influence into a unique style of their own. Having developed more or less simultaneously, these movements can be grouped in three dominant schools.

Brussels as an art centre was built on its strong ties with France. Here Belgian artists such as Théo van Rysselberghe, Modeste Huys and Léon De Smet combined the influences of the Fauves and of Impressionism. Emile Claus, arrived at a particular form of the study of light for its own sake, named Luminism.

On the other hand, in the sleepy artistic village of Sint-Martens-Latem outside Ghent, new movements, rooted in their native country and traditions, emerged. Stern, severe expressions of Flemish country-life were depicted by Gustave Van De Woestyne in a manner equal to Neue Sachlichkeit. Georges Minne on the other hand was associated with the Vienna Secessionists. Post-First World War contacts with Germany lead to the movement of Flemish Expressionism, pioneered by Constant Permeke, Gust De Smet and Frits van den Berghe during the late 1910s and early 1920s. Later Expressionists include Albert Saverys.

In Antwerp, the advent of Modernism was able to root, and brought forth a new movement lead by the brothers Floris and Oscar Jespers. Not belonging to any movement as such, and the absolute pioneer of Belgian art of that period was James Ensor, who enjoyed an almost mythical status amongst all Belgian artist of the time. His painting is incomparable and his genius ranks among the absolute great masters of history.

The exhibition includes paintings, drawings and sculpture by: James Ensor, Emile Claus, Georges Minne, Anna De Weert, Gustave Van De Woestyne, Léon and Gustave De Smet, Frits Van den Berghe, Edgard Tytgat, Albert Saverys, Floris Jespers and Paul Delvaux and Emile Poetou.