Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 180 - 23 October 2021

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 98

Modest Huys (Belgium / 1874 - 1932)
Drying the laundry (ca. 1908)


€ 60 000 - 80 000


The heart of Modest Huys is deeply rooted in the rolling, green landscapes of "his" land of the river Lys. The vast surroundings of Waregem are an idyllic setting to scenes of unrestrained folk life. Huys depicts fairs, parties, races and processions, and he has special attention for everyday work in the open air. This auction's selection is an anthology of his favorite subjects, which he always manages to depict in a tender way, such as "Laundry drying".

Rays of sun shimmer through the foliage, reflecting on the white linen and hiding in the shady verdure. A wide range of countless shades of green unfolds on the canvas. Huys has a preference for open air scenes, which give him the opportunity to play with the representation of light. He carefully arranges colors in alternating stripes. In the foreground they are rather rough, while they are delicate and vibrant in the treetops and the figures. The soft, spontaneous coloration and wavy lines create a peaceful and harmonious composition. Only the subtle waving of the laundry reveals a gentle breeze.

The painter is a poet. His painting is a poem, an ode to the valley of the Lys. Huys creates a wonderful panorama that reveals his positivist view of life. His work doesn't bare a moralizing undertone, as is the case with many of his contemporaries. We are offered an uninhibited look at a charming mother-daughter moment in an Arcadian landscape, unaffected by fuss or worry - an image to dream away.

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