Théo Van Rysselberghe Belgium / 1862 - 1926
Fontaine aux statues à Mazargues - Grand panneau (ca. 1920-24)


In 1917 Léon Guinotte asks Théo Van Rysselberghe to paint 17 works for his villa 'Le Pachy' at Mariemont, of which his brother Octave Van Rysselberghe is the architect. The paintings are realised between 1920 and 1924. They depict views of the park ( 12,5 ha at the time) and the ponds around the 'Villa Magalone' at Mazargues, Marseille. In 1947 Le Corbusier builds his famous 'Cité Radieuse' and 'Unité d'Habitation' on this part of the domain.
"Exposition d'oeuvres récentes de Théo Van Rysselberghe" Gal. Georges Giroux, Brussels 10-21.04.1926, nrs. 13 to 24 (12 works of this series were exhibited there)
"Retrospectieve Théo Van Rysselberghe" MSK, Ghent 1962, cat. nr. 159 (here with title "Fontaine aux statues")
"Théo Van Rysselberghe. Catalogue raisonné" Ronald Feltkamp, Les Éditions de l'amateur/ Éditions Racine, Brussels 2003, nr. P-061, p. 454 reprod.
"Mons & Coeur du Hainaut: Guide d'architecture moderne et contemporaine 1885-2015" Ed. Mardaga, Brussels 2015, p. 268-269 (ivm 'Le Pachy')
We thank Mr. Olivier Bertrand for the information he has kindly provided for this work and it will be included in the catalogue raisonné
coll. Léon Guinotte (1870-1950), industrialist, lawyer and politician
coll. Max Boël - Anna Guinotte, Brussels
auction Palais Galliéra, Paris 15/06/1965, lot 157
auction Campo nr. 79, Antwerp 19/10/1969, lot 562

Théo Van Rysselberghe - A touch of Côte d’Azur in Mariemont

The south of Europe, in particular the Provence, had completely taken over Théo Van Rysselberghe’s artist's heart. He was enthused by the warm colours, the Mediterranean light and the enchanting environments. It is in this region that he will reside for a large part of his career. In 1917, when he was commissioned by the Brussels industrial and philanthropist Léon Guinotte (1870-1950) to paint 17 works for his villa Le Pachy in Mariemont, Van Rysselberghe was inspired by the poetry he found in the idyllic garden views of which the Côte d'Azur offers a great wealth. "Fontaine aux statues à Mazargues" proposes a view of the park and the water features around the Villa Magalone in Mazargues, Marseille. Le Corbusier will later build his famous "Cité Radieuse" on a part of this domain.

The series for Le Pachy was part of a larger-scale renovation project led by Théo's brother and Art Nouveau architect Octave Van Rysselberghe, who also designed Théo's villa in Saint-Clair. The paintings were realized between 1920 and 1924. Van Rysselberghe, being a brother of two architects and friend of Henry Van de Velde, had a desire to create grandly arranged, harmonious ensembles for domestic interiors, such as the Villa Nocard in Neuilly. Other artists of his generation, such as Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, also connected to this trend. According to them, the fundamental task of the artist lies in various aspects of life and their talent is not just limited to an easel.

In those years Van Rysselberghe abandoned the rigorous pointillism, his palette yet without losing its intensity. The touch is freer and more varied, the colors are more nuanced and blend into one another. The delicate pink, green and blue shades shine in the Mediterranean light. The shadow of the afternoon sun, Van Rysselberghes beloved moment to paint, offers some cooling. The peaceful garden is disturbed only by the rippling of the water surface, which is suggested by ingeniously applied brush strokes. An ideal image where the residents of Le Pachy can dream away, or as Emile Verhaeren states:

«Cet art plonge non point dance le rêve ou l’extase mais dance une sorte de vie choisie qu'il montre sous ses aspects de santé et beauté. The bonheur frais y circule sans qu’on songe aux idylles des anciens poètes, ni au paradis classique. La donnée n’en est en rien littéraire. Ce ne sont que de belles chairs, heureuses de se déployer, nues et claires, parmi les caresses de l’eau et du soleil. »
("This art plunges not dream dance or ecstasy but dance a kind of chosen life which it shows in its aspects of health and beauty. Fresh happiness circulates without one thinking of the idylls of ancient poets or of classical paradise. The subject is in no way literary. These are only beautiful skins, happy to unfold, naked and clear, among the caresses of water and sun. ")

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