Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 180 - 23 October 2021

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 191

Frits Van den Berghe (Belgium / 1883 - 1939)
Seated couple (1929)


€ 40 000 - 60 000

"Frits Van den Berghe" Koninklijke Kunst- en letterkring, Ghent 1948, nr. 34
"G. De Smet en F. Van den Berghe" Gemeentelijk Casino, Knokke 1952, nr. 13
"Frits van den Berghe" Raadhuis Tilburg 1954, n.47
"Frits Van den Berghe" Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht 1954, nr.41
"Frits Van den Berghe" Zaal onder de Toren, Hasselt 1954, nr. 35
"Drie Vlaamse Expressionisten - Permeke, Van den Berghe, G. De Smet" Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 1954, nr. 38
"50 Jahre Belgische Kunst 1890-1940" Fränkische Galerie am Marientor, Nürnberg 1955, nr. 76
"Frits Van den Berghe" Gemeentelijk Casino, Knokke 1957, nr. 83
"Frits Van den Berghe" Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 1957, nr. 76
"Frits Van den Berghe" Kunsthaus, Hamburg 1969
"Retrospectieve Frits Van den Berghe" PMMK, Ostend 1999, cat. nr. 120 ill.
"Frits Van den Berghe 1883-1939. Catalogue raisonné de son oeuvre peint" Emile Langui, Éd. Laconti, Bruxelles 1966, cat. nr. 330 ill.
"Frits Van den Berghe 1883-1939. De mens en zijn werk" E. Langui, Mercatorfonds, Antwerp 1968, p. 149 ill.
"Frits Van den Berghe" Piet Boyens, with catalogue raisonné by Patrick Derom & Gilles Marquenie, Pandora, Antwerp 1999, cat. nr. 617 ill.
coll. Toussaint van Boelaere, Brussels
coll. mevr. De Splenter, Ghent
coll. Jozef Mees, Ghent
coll. Maurice Naessens, Meise


Frits Van den Berghe's curious works of art are hard to put into words, and the least that can be said about his oeuvre is that it cannot be classified under one homogeneous denominator. The artist covers a wide range of subjects, shapes and isms. But one constant keeps coming back: that of the confrontation between a man and a woman.

The topic of the seated couple, closely isolated from the rest of the world, is a classic representation immortalizing the precious and universal concept of marriage. The couple is a monolithic block. Earthy tones of brown and mauve depict its rocky texture. As an archetypal icon, the couple stands out against the golden background and carries the sacred message of the vows. But a dark line surrounds the silhouettes. They are stuck together, but yet so far apart.

Van den Berghe has a cynical idea of marriage. His composition captures the many facets of the relationship between man and woman. Pushed by the urges of nature, the human couple is driven towards each other. They seek for affection and protection of each other. One leans toward the other, approaching in her shadow. The masculine silhouette of the woman is repeated in that of the man. His unrequited desire rebounds like a pictorial echo. His face is but a shadow, unlike the woman's piercing gaze, expressing her longing for freedom.

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