Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 178 - 6 March 2021

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 203

Gustave De Smet (Belgium / 1877 - 1943)
Woman at the window on a holiday (1935)


€ 100 000 - 120 000

"Gustave De Smet" Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels 1940, nr. 54
"Gustave De Smet" Maison Haute, Bosvoorde 1959, nr. 17
"Retrospectieve tentoonstelling Gustave De Smet" KMSK, Antwerp 1961, nr. 187
"Gust De Smet. De mensch en zijn werk" Emile Langui, Manteau, Brussels 1945, nr. 666
"Gust. De Smet. Kroniek, Kunsthistorische analyse" Piet Boyens, Antwerp 1989, nr. 953 ill.
coll. Tony Herbert, Kortrijk


"From now on I want to endeavor to depict inner life, expressively through form and color."

Sometimes 'Flemish expressionism' tends to serve as a catchall for artworks showing similar stylistic characteristics, while in fact their executing artists had very different ideas. Permeke, for example, swore by his unbridled freedom and instinctive methodology, while Gustave De Smet was focused on the reflection of inner life within a reasoned and ordered composition.

In 1930 De Smet moved to Deurle, where he would stay for the rest of his life. His immediate surroundings provided him with inspiration. "Woman by the window on a holiday" depicts a dreamy woman in a no-frills interior. The bare ornaments reflect the woman's immanent peace of mind: a cup on the cupboard, a painting against the wall, a vase with flowers.

The archaic figure beams with calm and simplicity, thus indicating the scene's timelessness. The open window however, offers a peak into daily village life. De Smet uses the two flags as a a minimalist but ingenious trick to introduce the festivities into the living room and add a hint of frivolity.

The sturdiness of De Smets previous years smoothens during this period. Deep black tones complement the rich hues of earthly colors enveloping the scene with a velvety effect. Color gets more freedom and the brushstroke even becomes visible: a few precise strokes make the tabletop vibrate and the heavy clouds swell in the distance, without falling into cacophony.

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