#ArtWednesday: Théo van Rysselberghe, Belgian Painter, Designer and Sculptor

Theo van Rysselberghe, self portrait black crayon and charcoal on paper 56.7 x 42.5 cm bears stamp of artist´s monogram 1916

Theo van Rysselberghe, self portrait black crayon and charcoal on paper 56.7 x 42.5 cm bears stamp of artist´s monogram 1916

Rysselberghe enrolled in the Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in Ghent, Belgium at an early age. In 1879 he became a pupil of Jean-François Portaels, director of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, whose Orientalist works he admired. Van Rysselberghe first exhibited at the Salon in Brussels in 1881.

Heavy Clouds, Christiania Fjord 1893 Oil on canvas, 51 x 63 cm Museum of Art, Indianapolis. In 1886 Rysselberghe made contact with Seurat and Signac, and his style evolved in a Neo-Impressionist direction. From that time on he regularly exhibited at Neo-Impressionist shows in Paris. His pointillist Heavy Clouds, Christiania Fjord is largely based on complementary contrasts of blue and orange, and of yellow and violet.

Heavy Clouds, Christiania Fjord
1893
Oil on canvas, 51 x 63 cm
Museum of Art, Indianapolis.
In 1886 Rysselberghe made contact with Seurat and Signac, and his style evolved in a Neo-Impressionist direction. From that time on he regularly exhibited at Neo-Impressionist shows in Paris. His pointillist Heavy Clouds, Christiania Fjord is largely based on complementary contrasts of blue and orange, and of yellow and violet.

The next year he won a travelling scholarship and, following in the footsteps of Portaels, visited Spain and Morocco. With fellow artists Darío de Regoyos and Constantin Meunier, Van Rysselberghe recorded picturesque scenes of everyday life. He exhibited these Mediterranean pictures in 1883 at L’Essor.

Family in an Orchard 1890 Oil on canvas, 116 x 164 cm Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo. As a result of their approach to Impressionism, Belgian artists occasionally juxtaposed native Flemish styles with imported Impressionist styles derived from the French. One of the major exponents of the more French-oriented line was the foremost Belgian Neo-Impressionist, Théo van Rysselberghe.

Family in an Orchard
1890
Oil on canvas, 116 x 164 cm
Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo.
As a result of their approach to Impressionism, Belgian artists occasionally juxtaposed native Flemish styles with imported Impressionist styles derived from the French. One of the major exponents of the more French-oriented line was the foremost Belgian Neo-Impressionist, Théo van Rysselberghe.

He attended the historic meeting on 28 October 1883 at which the avant-garde exhibition society Les XX was created, and at their exhibition in 1885 he showed the results of a second Moroccan trip, including the exotic Fantasia (Brussels, Musée Royal d’Art Moderne).

In 1886 the painter travelled with the poet Emile Verhaeren to Paris, where he met Georges Seurat whose painting he admired, particularly A Sunday Afternoon at the Island of Grande Jatte. Following his contact with Neo-Impressionists like Seurat, Signac, Cross and Pissarro in Paris, van Rysselberghe turned to Pointillism himself, becoming the main exponent of the style in Belgium and one of Belgium’s most important artists of the fin-de-siecle period. In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the painter travelled in Spain, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In 1898, he moved from Brussels to Paris where he joined the literary Symbolist group.

Pointe Saint-Pierre at Saint-Tropez 1896 Oil on canvas, 78 x 98 cm Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art, Luxembourg.

Pointe Saint-Pierre at Saint-Tropez
1896
Oil on canvas, 78 x 98 cm
Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg.

After the death of Georges Seurat, van Rysselberghe gradually abandoned the Pointillist technique and turned to a more Realist style. He was famous for his portraits of poets and other literary figures and created an oeuvre of etchings and lithographs. He also designed some beautiful various posters for bookshops and art galleries.

The Man at the Helm 1892 Oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Théo van Rysselberghe met Seurat and Signac in 1886 and adopted the pointillist style of painting developed by them. His painting shows a helmsman who is under way with his ship in high seas. By the division of the picture space the painter stresses the dramatic nature of this voyage. The sail takes up the upper left-hand corner, the man at the helm the lower right. Taut ropes cross the crest of a high wave and in this way bring in an additional dynamic element. On top of that there are the color contrasts characteristic of pointillism.

The Man at the Helm
1892
Oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Théo van Rysselberghe met Seurat and Signac in 1886 and adopted the pointillist style of painting developed by them. His painting shows a helmsman who is under way with his ship in high seas. By the division of the picture space the painter stresses the dramatic nature of this voyage. The sail takes up the upper left-hand corner, the man at the helm the lower right. Taut ropes cross the crest of a high wave and in this way bring in an additional dynamic element. On top of that there are the color contrasts characteristic of pointillism.

Van Rysselberghe and his wife, who was fondly known as Madame Théo, are said to have played an important role in the life of André Gide. Between 1905-1910, he settled in Saint Clair in Provence, where he primarily executed portraits of his wife as well as of his daughter Elisabeth.

Crash

Advertisements