NEWSFLASH: auction

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More than 600 works of a.o.

Alighiero E. Boetti, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bram Bogart, César, Lynn Chadwick, Emile Claus, Robert Combas, Raoul De Keyser, Paul Delvaux, Gustave De Smet, Léon De Smet, Christian Dotremont, James Ensor, Jean-Michel Folon, George Grard, Peter Halley, Keith Haring, Floris Jespers, Asger Jorn,  Walter Leblanc, Eugène Leroy, Sol LeWitt, Pablo Picasso, Turi Simeti, Léon Spilliaert, Olivier Strebelle, Walter Swennen, Edgard Tytgat, Manolo Valdes,Théo Van Rysselberghe, Ossip Zadkine, ...


As early as the beginning of the 20th century, Belgian artists went beyond national borders, which brought new insights to their creativity. Théo Van Rysselberghe was lured by the intense colours of the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France. "Pins à Beauvallon" (1925), from the collection of Elisabeth Van Rysselberghe and then Catherine Gide, the artist's daughter and granddaughter. The azure coast is bathing in the light of this Impressionist gem.

Emile Claus went in the other direction to grasp Impressionist imageries. In "Fog. Lanterns in the Fog" (ca. 1916-18), he captures the range of nuances to be found in London's fog. There are several important works by Claus, including the early work "Cow along the Lys" (1895), impressively sized at 81 x 116,5 cm, and a sublime "Landscape in May" (1911).

"Landscape with rainbow" (1904), is an early Impressionist work by Léon De Smet. By his brother Gustave De Smet, there is "Porcelain in an interior" (1911), with a Chinese porcelain figure of Lao Tse, which still belongs to the inventory of the Municipal Gustave De Smet Museum in Deurle.

Lot 110. Léon De Smet (1904) - Est. €30.000-40.000

Painter of happiness

In the beginning of the 20th century, Léon De Smet lets himself be seduced by impressionism. With short strokes, he experiments to capture the atmospheric change of the landscape. The result is an impressive composition that testifies to the artist's mastery. Piet Boyens aptly puts it as follows:

"Léon de Smet paints happiness as a broad smile. He stays true to the landscape of his surroundings, the Leie region south of Ghent. In large and also smaller canvases, he tries to find his own brushstroke, often in a delicate colour palette.

With the painting "Landscape with rainbow", the artist leaves the academy far behind and tries the short stroke of impressionism. Here - as a painter of light - De Smet is particularly inspired by the always magical atmosphere of light and dark contrasts resulting from the interplay of sun and rain. In the years before 1914, De Smet painted the landscape with rainbow on canvas several times."

(Piet Boyens 2022)

Lot 110. See detail


In their search for a new visual language to represent the changing world of the early 20th century, artists came to unique insights, so is made clear by a collection of drawings and designs by Pierre-Louis Flouquet. By Willem Paerels, in turn, there is an impressive "Flower bouquet in front of a mirror" (1912-13), in which he creates a veritable festival of colours with paint.

From Floris Jespers, an artistic jack-of-all-trades, there is a beautiful portrait "La jeune fille peintre" (ca. 1930) in which he entwines styles, shapes and colours in a special way. "Forest View" (1921) is an almost abstract composition, alongside two eglomisés, among others.

More abstract works include one by Joseph Lacasse, a 1939 composition in warm shades of orange and yellow. Ossip Zadkine translated abstraction into bronze, as seen in the two impressive sculptures "Genji" (1959) and "Les mains végétales" (1957-58).

Lot 223. Floris Jespers (ca. 1930) - Est. €20.000-30.000

La jeune fille peintre (ca. 1930)

Floris Jespers' work from the Centaure period (1926-30) undoubtedly represents a highlight of his career as a painter. His virtuosity is at its maximum and he creates highly original, modernist paintings in which he freely employs Cubism and Surrealism.

"La jeune fille peintre" can be dated around 1930. The painting shows great affinity with, for instance, "Meisje met palet" from 1930. The female figure finds herself in a fragmentary landscape of stacked elements, within which she is depicted rather naturalistically with white, silky skin. This pristinity contrasts with the grainy paint texture Jespers applies elsewhere in the composition.

Lot 223. See detail

Minimal Art

With Minimal Art, beauty is sought in simplicity. Repetition in colours and shapes, gradual variation and simple materials interact with the environment and create tension. Walter Leblanc does this ingeniously thanks to his "Twisted strings 15P X 18" (1968). By Sol LeWitt, there is a large 128,5 x 101,5 cm work in gouache entitled "Tangled Bands" (2002). "3 ovali bianchi" (2008) is a monochrome work by Turi Simeti that challenges the flatness of the canvas and studies the effect of light upon it.

In Italy, Minimalism leads to the Arte Povera of Alighiero Boetti, among others. From him, there is a unique series of nine watercolours depicting the patchwork of his poetic block letters. By Antoni Tapies there is "Image with Three Crosses" (1980), in mixed media on paper.

Peter Halley is an American artist who gave a special charge to the colours and materials he used. "Green Prison" (2001) is made in fluorescent paint that mimics the eerie glow of artificial lighting and reflective clothing and signs, as well as Roll-a-Tex, a texture additive used to harden suburban buildings.

Lot 432. Alighiero Boetti (1979) - Est. €40.000-60.000

Ordine e disordine

Alighiero Boetti is one of the most important figures in the Arte Povera movement that blossomed in Italy in the late 1960s. Literally translated, it means “poor art”, or even “bad art”. Artists in this movement experimented with unconventional materials and ideas, turning away from classic and expensive artwork in marble or oil paint. Instead, they use simple, often perishable materials, with which they attempt to create tangible art that brings people and artistic creation closer together.

These watercolors "Nove Quadrati" (1979) run parallel to Boetti's famous Arazzi series, his embroideries composed of colorful blocked letters. The letters are woven into words and sentences. It is up to the viewer to decipher them. Boetti creates a poetry of color and form, in which each letter is an autonomous element.

Bold letters are scattered in a cheerful mosaic of colors and patterns. Each time 16 letters form a square. At first glance, the candy-colored patchwork is gibberish and seems random. But those who pay attention will discover the artist's logic in the playful composition and be amazed by the splendor of the words that arise. There appears to be rhythm in order and disorder, a harmoniously depicted system.

Lot 432. See detail


The catalogue of this auction includes some notable American artists. One of the most outstanding works in the auction is "Untitled (Hans Mayer Jan-Feb, Düsseldorf 1987)" by Jean-Michel Basquiat. This is a work in acrylic and oil stick depicting bright colours and explosive lines. Keith Haring's works include a large 96,5 x 126,5 cm work in acrylic from 1984.

Robert Combas represents Figuration Libre, the French counterpart to Neo-Expressionism. "Madam' et Yves (Comprenez Adam et Eve)" (2010) is an impressive 168 x 117 cm canvas. The work a fine example of the artist's rich imagination. Biblical elements are interwoven into a contemporary narrative in his typical style. Also by him is a 1987 composition.

Lot 575. Robert Combas (2010) - Est. €70.000-90.000

Everything is possible

"You're pissing me off! If you like my painting, that's all that matters... Leave me alone, I have nothing to say!"

Eccentric, colourful, offbeat. Perhaps even bold or rebellious. It is difficult to speak of Robert Combas in nuanced terms. His work stands out like a contemporary stained glass window with visionary representations of everyday life. The French artist is inspired by popular culture and likes to combine it with historical and mythological references. His style is reminiscent of street art and comics, creating a relaxed, playful and entertaining universe, which sometimes takes on a boisterous or sensual character.

In contrast to Minimalism or Conceptual Art, this precursor of the Figuration Libre movement aspires to an eclectic and more honest representation of the modern age. His paintings are born out of a direct visual engagement with the contemporary environment rather than a rational and far-fetched vision. His style is closely related to American neo-expressionism, the movement with which Basquiat, among others, is associated and which was mainly active in New York City. It was not by chance in this city that he held his first solo exhibition abroad in 1983, which brought him international fame.

"Madame et Yves" from 2010 is a fine example of Robert Combas' rich imagination. A play on words in the title ("Adam and Eve"), draws us into the work. We recognise Eve with the snake on her head like a crown jewel. On a stick, the apple in her hand shines. The fruit demands our full attention; it is the real centre of this psychedelic scene. Biblical elements are thus interwoven in Combas' typical style into a contemporary story in which Adam's wife appears tattooed, adorned with primitive images reminiscent of prehistoric cave paintings. In Robert Combas' Garden of Eden, everything is possible.

Lot 575. See detail

Lot 294. César (1956) - Est. €40.000-60.000

New Realism

In a reaction to overly cool abstraction, New Realism emerged as a new way of looking at reality. One of the most recognisable figures of this movement is César. Several important works by him are included in the catalogue, including the sculpture in bronze "Nu de Saint-Denis 1" (1956) and the relief "Nature morte aux deux tasses" (1983) in compressed enamel.

"La infanta doña Margarita V" (1985) is an oil painting from the series El Museo del Prado by Manolo Valdes. There are two décollages by Jacques Villeglé, from 1987 and 1998, as well as several graphic works by Christo.

Lot 294. See detail

Belgian sculptors

The catalogue includes a number of important sculptures, all Belgian masterpieces. Jacques Moeschal was in the spotlight just last year with an exhibition at Bozar in Brussels. Three of his sculptures can be found in our auction room in October: "La main" (1994-95) and "L'oeil sur la colline" (1974) are both unique works of art. "La Flèche du génie civil", (The Arrow of Civil Engineering) is a model of the monumental version Moeschal designed for the 1958 World's Fair. At the time, it was an 80-metre-long concrete structure that could also be walked on.

"Le secret" (2003) and "Loin" (2005) are two sculptures in bronze by Jean-Michel Folon. They depict the dreamy traveller, always in search of freedom and adventure. On the same theme, there is a large work of 102 x 152 cm in watercolour entitled "Un pays inconnu" (2000).

One of the most important works is a monumental sculpture in bronze by Olivier Strebelle. "L'Attelage III" (1989) measures 260 x 340 x 120 cm. It is a dynamic composition depicting the love of equestrian sports. Also by Strebelle is "L'envol VI" (1982), with which he seems to defy gravity.

Lot 552. Jean-Michel Folon (2003) - Est. €65.000-80.000

The secret of Folon

Jean-Michel Folon’s iconic gentleman wearing a hat and a long coat welcomes us like an old friend. His familiar appearance seems a pictogram that is part of our collective memory. We can bump into him anywhere, because he is always on the move. To where? Who's to say ...

The slightly eccentric fellow is always sitting on a bench, walking in the park, watching the birds, sitting on the beach with his feet in the sea. Folon makes sturdy sculptures in solid bronze. After all, they have to be resistant. They are not intended to stand in a dusty museum hall, but to interact with nature and the elements. The sculptures defy wind and weather, sun and rain, sea and forest.

The strolling dreamer pauses and stares into the distance. Only in frontal view does it become clear that there is more going on. It is absurd to see that, while holding the sides of his coat, the entire figure’s body splits in two from top to bottom. A dark cavity is revealed. The man opens his inside to the outside world.

Lot 552. See detail