Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gustave Van De Woestyne - MSK Gent

My latest adventures took me the Gustave Van De Woestyne Exhibition at the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Citadelpark, Gent. I spent the most time with Gustave's work, but did I have time breeze through some of the other rooms of the museum.
De Woestyne is an artist I knew nothing about prior to this exhibition, and I was completely floored by this retrospective. Undoubtedly, Woestyne has become one of my favorite artists of all time.

Gustave lived and worked in Belgium his entire life (1881 - 1947), save a few years spent in Great Britain during the First World War. He was a deeply introverted, and religiously inspired person which translates through his work, making it thoroughly distinct, and ladened with personality. His work falls into the Symbolism movement of the late 19th century. Originating out of France and Belgium, Symbolism (following the drama and glory of the Romanticists) was a very personal, intuitive, yet a broad geographic reach. Works, specifically those of De Woestyne, mesh the audacity and drama of Romanticism, with the austerity and ambiguity of the "decadent" and Pre-Raphaelites movement.

Woestyne's work was heavily influenced by the previously stated movements, as well as Flemish and Italian Primitives and other iconographic work.
His works contain a subtle yet jarring tension; impeccable draughtsmanship and sheer ability met with knowledgeable and deliberate distortions of figures and other elements. Combined, these elements bring about haunting paintings with classical abilities and avant-garde compositions that are quite timeless.

The exhibition was broken down like any typical retrospective; chronological, highlighting each period of his work. Not so surprising, it was a bit hard to find De Woestyne's work online. Though his work is really amazing, it is not so well known. Here are some of my particular favorites that I manage to capture.

Deeske (1907-08)
watercolor, pastel, pencil on paper

The Blind (1910)

Portrait of Karel Van De Woestijne (1910)
graphite on paper

Self Portrait (1912)
watercolor and oil

Country Girl (1913)
oil on canvas

The Grandmother or Portrait of Roos Van Wijnendaelen (1914)
oil on canvas

The Children's Table (1919)

Portrait of Professor Fabrice Polderman (1919)
oil on canvas

Portrait of Adrienne with a Little Dog (1919)

Christ Shows His Wounds (1921)
oil on canvas

The Liqueur Drinkers (c. 1922)
charcoal and oil on paper

Gaston and His Sister (1923)

Christ Sacrifices His Blood (1925)

Fragments (above and below) of
Christ & His Apostles from the Last Supper (1927)
casein, charcoal, chalk on canvas

His work inspires me in so many ways, I am at a loss for words. The stylization, experimentation, the subtle somewhat dark sense of humor and overall sensibility of the artist really shines through his work. His technique and sheer drawing ability are so in line with my aesthetic It is truly timeless pieces, and I feel as if my art will never be the same after experiencing this show.
Until next time

1 comment:

  1. Laura,
    Never heard of this artist and you're right - his work is amazing and very interesting. Thanks for introducing me to his work!

    I'm glad you're seeing exciting work - and hope the rest of your time in Antwerp is full of good things. Ann