Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 177 - 5 December 2020

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 452

Jef Verheyen (Belgium / 1932 - 1984)
Grande île nocturne (Big nocturnal island) (1981)


€ 80 000 - 120 000

Jef Verheyen also described the work as 'Grote piramide - avond (Large pyramid - evening)' and 'mooi violet (beautiful violet)'. The wooden framing is original and painted purple. He painted the work in his studio in the Provence.
"Retrospectieve Jef Verheyen" PMMK, Ostend 1994, cat. nr. 122
The work is registered by the Jef Verheyen Archive
Acquired directly from the artist by the current owner's family


The poetic title "Grande île nocturne" (or: "Big nocturnal island") suggests a paradise dream of light and color. Jef Verheyen's wall-to-wall canvas is not just a painting, it is a materialized dream that seems to emerge from the wall to reflect our wishes and desires. It is a window to another dimension, another reality.

Verheyen uses a refined glazing technique in which he builds up multiple translucent layers, thus obtaining subtle color gradations. The colors transform within the veiled motif of a perfect geometric structure which is an optical illusion only unconsciously perceived by the viewer. Fluctuating between royal blue and aubergine purple, hues expand, rebound, envelop us. The mathematical perfection of geometric shapes combined with a color metamorphosis creates a satisfied feeling of well-being and safety.

The gradual shading also covers the modest framing and becomes one with its surrounding space. Unlike a classic "tableau", Jef Verheyen creates a spatial experience that surpasses materiality. He creates a transcendent experience in which we are enveloped and intoxicated by color, causing us to lose all sense of spaciousness. In his work we experience both light and dark, depth and surface, two-dimensionality and non-dimensionality.

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