RemarksThis gouache is the 11th from the series "De vrouw". The gouache also served as inspiration for the eponymous oilpainting, which Frits Van den Berghe realised that same year. It was bought by Emanuel Hoffmann and belongs to the collection of the Kunstmuseum Basel.
Exhibition"De werken van de schilder Frits Van den Berghe (ingericht door Sélection)", Koninklijke Kunst- en Letterkring, Antwerp 1926
"Zeitgenössische Belgische Kunst" Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt 1929; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Köln 1929, nr. 113
LiteratureSélection, V.n°5, 1926, p. 365
"Frits Van den Berghe" Reeks Sélection chronique de la vie artistique, cahier 12, André De Ridder, Anvers 1931, p. 120 reprod.
"Frits Van den Berghe 1883-1939. Catalogue raisonné de son oeuvre peint" Emile Langui, Éd. Laconti, Bruxelles 1966, nr. 145 reprod.
"Frits Van den Berghe" Piet Boyens, with catalogue raisonné by Patrick Derom & Gilles
Marquenie, Pandora, Antwerp 1999, cat. nr. 394 reprod.
Provenancecoll. Walter Schwarzenberg, Brussels
coll. Gilbert Périer, Brussels
THE WOMAN IN THE LEADING ROLE
Between 1924 and 1926 Van den Berghe created various series in mixed techniques of pencil, watercolour and gouache, such as the cycle The woman' and unfinished series as The fair' and Country life'. These series were very important in the oeuvre of Van den Berghe as he could freely express his humor, satiric qualities and talent for sharp characterization.
The gouache "Picnic" is part of the series that focusses on the theme of the woman and that he created in a youthful enthusiasm. Van den Berghe addresses the relationship between men and women in a playful way, which results in a caricatural and clever design with humoristic and sometimes austere and moralizing side thoughts. Due to the voluminous and sculptural forms, the composition has a very modernist feel. In the primitivist influences and hallucinatory ambience of this series the artist's interest for surrealism is already showing. Dreams and imagination are slowly entering his oeuvre and in 1926 this will end up in a radical break with reality.