Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 180 - 23 October 2021

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 103

Emile Claus (Belgium / 1849 - 1924)
Summerday on the Lys in Astene (1911)


€ 90 000 - 120 000


There is not a breeze in the air over the calm river Lys. As the warm summer day turns into evening, the sun sets behind the treetops and casts elongated shadows across the landscape. The last rays of the sun reflect brightly shimmering against the tree trunks to the right and on the far shore to the left. The dry grass still burns in intense orange-yellow hues. The evening slowly envelops nature with a long-awaited coolness. A group of ducks doesn't bother and enjoys the tranquility on the water.

Claus tries to capture the ever-changing light of the sunset. He explores different tonalities and expresses them in his personal touch, which is a spontaneous mix of pasty patches, stripes, commas and smudges. The warm summer air is composed by the gradually changing brushstrokes from bright blue to soft yellow. Behind the treetops in the distance the sun has only just disappeared.

The atmospheric metamorphosis unfolds in backlight. Bright rays of sun penetrate from the central plan of the composition and have a 'decolourising' effect, contrasting with the dark coolness that oscillates between blue-green and aubergine. The light effect weakens towards the rear plan. Claus's perspective follows the river bend, after which it fades into distant shadowy tones.

The reflection of the foliage on the water is an ingenious trick by Claus to unify the different plans. He also uses a looser, freer painting technique than before, which has a binding effect. Above all, the artist strives for pictorial unity. A poetic atmosphere is evoked, the harmony of nature and light.

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