NEWSFLASH: auction

Upcoming auction highlights

 Pierre Alechinsky, Pablo Atchugarry, Bram Bogart, Jean Brusselmans, Lynn Chadwick, Christo, Emile Claus, Jan Cobbaert, Corneille, Felix De Boeck, Jules De Bruycker, Evarist De Buck, César De Cock, Raoul De Keyser, Paul Delvaux, Valerius De Saedeleer, James Ensor, Jan Fabre, Jean-Michel Folon, Sam Francis, Philippe Geluck, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Modest Huys, Floris Jespers, Oscar Jespers, Fernand Khnopff, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, Joseph Lacasse, Sol Lewitt, Hubert Malfait, Javier Marin, George Minne, Panamarenko, Constant Permeke, Roger Raveel, Herman Saftleven, Pieter Snyers, Léon Spilliaert, Niele Toroni, Philippe Vandenberg, Rinus Van de Velde, Louis Van Lint, Jef Verheyen, Bernar Venet, Henri-Victor Wolvens, Rik Wouters, Ossip Zadkine, ...

Collectors and amateurs will soon have the occasion to marvel at the unique beauty that can be discovered in our March auction. Over 650 works of art will be on display for eight days, from February 22 to March 1. The offer has been carefully selected for the unique qualities of each piece, ranging from Old Masters to contemporary art, both international and Belgian, from paintings and sculptures to photography and installations.

Lot 128. Evarist De Buck - The River Lys and the Tempelhoeve in the evening sun (1918) - Est. € 30.000-50.000

Early 20th Century

An important part of the auction includes a number of key pieces illustrating the aesthetic innovations within various movements in Belgium at the beginning of the 20th century. These were already initiated by the eccentric James Ensor, of whom there is an important hand-coloured copy of the etching “The entry of Christ into Brussels” (1898). The catalog includes several important watercolors by Léon Spilliaert, including “View of the Visserskaai from the artist’s studio” (1909). Spilliaert did not only work in his parental home. In the years 1908-1909 he also moved into an attic room above a café in the corner house on the Visserskaai and Nieuwstraat.

There are several important artworks by Jean Brusselmans, including an oil painting from 1914, from his Brabant Fauvist period, which has the double title “Matin en banlieue - L'usine à Auderghem” and comes from the collection of art critic Paul Haesaerts. The colors and brush strokes that Brusselmans uses are exceptionally modern for this era. “The River Lys and the Tempelhoeve in the evening sun” (1918), in bright summery brush strokes, illustrates the pointillist genius of Evarist De Buck. The work dates from the years De Buck first stayed in Latem between 1916 and 1918. The style of the works from this period is modern and personal, the rendering of color is rich and luminous.

An important painting by Hubert Malfait is “Le premier prix” (1929), in which the artist displays a rare delicacy. This work is first mentioned in a letter dated 9 December 1929 from André De Ridder to Hubert Malfait and was originally part of the collection of Leo Van Puyvelde, curator of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. Also note two important sculptures by Oscar Jespers “Femme penchée - La toilette” (1933) in white marble and “Bird” (1927) in bronze, an elegant and modern piece measuring 81 cm.

Lot 76. The secret (ca. 1902) - Est. € 20.000-30.000

Impression of a memory

As enigmatic as the performance is, so mysterious is the technique used by Khnopff. He was an avid photographer who exceeded the level of an amateur. The instantaneousness of the medium offered him an objective representation of reality, which he then developed into a new, independent work of art.

The foundation of “The Secret” is a platinum print, at the time an expensive process with a high-quality result. The soft grain created a subtle luminous effect, with deep black tones. Next, Khnopff added nuances with subtle enhancements to bend reality to his will. Blue for melancholy and the eternal, brown in an eyebrow to define a facial expression. The photo was taken from a pastel drawing with the same title, which is part of the collection of the Groeningemuseum in Bruges. The composition for this drawing was, in its turn, based on a well-known photograph of Marguerite taken by Khnopff.

Photograph of Marguerite by Fernand Khnopff

What are the meanings “The Secret” conceals? Fernand Khnopff does not give them away for free. They are veiled behind a sublime appearance in an aestheticized setting. A woman, Khnopff's sister Marguerite, his muse, poses in billowing robes in an classicising style decor. In her hand she holds a mask adorned with a laurel crown. A column, a scepter and draperies are the only ornaments.

Khnopff depicts his sister as some kind of priestess, a mystical being. Her face is more angular than in reality, a search for the transformation into the androgynous, the mythical, the archetypal. The setting is an accurately studied mise en scene with a deliberate lighting focused on the two faces. They appear as in a vision, undefined and unreal.

With her finger, Marguerite silences the mask, a gesture turning the scene into stillness. While her own face, with tight contours and darkness, becomes a mask itself, she looks impassively at the other. This one, unlike Marguerite, has a touch of life behind her subtly blue colored irises. Which one of the facades hides the truth? It's a truth that shouldn't be outspoken.

Lot 76. See detail

Belgian Postwar Art

Corneille painted a wonderful composition in 1951 that will be part of this auction. It was the last official year of the Cobra movement. In this period he let a multitude of impressions come to him. He was particularly fascinated by Africa and in 1951 made a trip to Algeria. The auction will also include Cobra art by Karel Appel and Reinhoud, among others.

“Met Freethiel op provinciaal veld” (1969) is a large canvas by Raoul De Keyser. Through his New Vision (“Nieuwe Visie”) he depicts a simplified, almost abstract representation of a football field. “Spaceship 'General Spinaxis'" (1977) by Panamarenko is a large drawing almost two meters wide. In 1968 Panamarenko made a first version of the "General Spinaxis" in balsa wood. In 1978 he built a monumental version that was positioned at the airport in Bremen. In this context, the artist made the present drawing offered here at auction. It is supposed to become a spacecraft powered by solar energy.

Lot 317. Met Freethiel op provinciaal veld (1969) - Est. € 80.000-120.000

A sports reporter at MoMA

It may not seem obvious for an artist whose work is in international collections like the New York MoMA, but Raoul De Keyser was a sports reporter for several regional newspapers for many years. That football was close to his heart is nevertheless easy to see in his richly filled oeuvre. In countless works, the planes and pinstripes of the playing field expressed what he himself called his 'abstract realism'. The master himself may not have had a sports career, but he undeniably mastered 'the game of painting' and the pleasure involved.

His artistry developed in Deinze in a remarkably steady manner. De Keyser's canvases travel more and further than the hand that painted them. It is a funny detail that for once, a work like 'Met Freethiel Op Provinciaal Veld' from 1969 does not allude to 'his' SK Deinze. In a rare moment, he leaves the area on the Leie and heads towards Waasland. Freethiel is the former name of the football stadium where Belgian football club SK Beveren played its home matches. That óther club he supported. The club colours blue and yellow are prominent on the canvas. At the same time, the pinstripes and the flat field support the imposing, square composition in a typical and recognisable way.

However, we are not looking at a work about football or sport per se. Like so many other works by Raoul De Keyser, it is about painting itself. He uses the everyday to experiment with the various ingredients of the métier and he consistently explores the rich no-man's land between figurative and abstract. It made the artist the darling of many other painters. The painter's painter, who more than 10 years after his death is still tacitly considered the greatest among Belgian painters of the past 50 years.

Lot 317. See detail

International Artists

The catalog includes works of art of international excellence, including a colorful and explosive work in acrylic on paper “Untitled (SF89-126)” from 1989 by Sam Francis. There is also an impressive 1m37 sculpture in Carrara marble by Pablo Atchugarry from 1995.

“Corner Panels (To Height of Door)” (1969) is an important pen drawing by Sol LeWitt. Also note the photo collage “Louver Drape, Black to Black” (1971-72) by Jan Dibbets. This piece was included in the traveling exhibition that visited the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1987, among others.

By Lynn Chadwick there is an elegant sculpture in bronze “Standing Woman” (1983). “Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin) Platz der Republik, Brandenburger Tor“ (1991) is an original work by Christo.

Lot 502. Senza titolo (1995) - Est. € 90.000-120.000

Time to tango

Spotlights on, one step forward, fabric rustling, and: passiòn! The Uruguayan artist Pablo Atchugarry is entangled in an intense and exhausting dance with his beloved marble. Sculpting takes his blood, sweat and tears, but the desire to conquer the hard heart of the rock is unyielding.

Atchugarry was born in Uruguay in 1954. A child prodigy, having his first exhibition of paintings at the age of 11. But soon the expressive power of sculpting attracts him. In 1972 - he is then 18 years old - his first solo exhibition takes place. In 1979 he discovered the Italian Carrara marble. It's love at first sight. From the very beginning he banishes any modeling, which does not meet to his romantic, almost titanic urge to encounter the stone.

Working with marble is the noblest act of classical sculpture. Pure and eminent, with flawless skin that captures the shimmer of the light, it wants to be cherished. Many an artist falls for the charms of the stone, which is originally a rough block but already then carries the artwork within it. It's up to the artist to expose it, or as Michelangelo said:

The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.

Light models the volumes of this 1995 sculpture. Fullness emerges, deep folds are hidden in the shadows. Atchugarry makes the pleats as fine as possible, smoothing the surface sensually, like the baroque drapes of a robe concealing a body. The marble invites you to dance and admire all its angles. Every perspective reveals a different artwork.

Lot 502. See detail

Contemporary Art

Typically Belgian: surrealism, a touch of self-mockery and a funny-looking cartoon character. Philippe Geluck's “Le collectionneur” (“The collector”) (2017) is a witty painting. In terms of content, it is similar to painting-in-painting by Roger Raveel. This remarkable work bears the double title "De wereld is mijn interieur – Hoe vind je mijn schilderijtje, voordelig gekocht?" (“The world is my interior - How do you like my painting, bought advantageously ?”) (1967) and has been part of numerous exhibitions.

There is an impressive charcoal drawing by Rinus Van de Velde. The artist masterfully controls the art of drawing and manages to create a monumental work that is also very tactile. The mountainscape “Untitled” (2010) contains many layers in which fact and fiction enter into dialogue, appealing to the collective memory of the viewer and his capacity for imagination.

“Het net” (2003-2004) is a large abstract painting of almost 200 x 200 cm by Philippe Vandenberg, in which he strings together a web of fine colours. There are several pieces by Jan Fabre, including “Adsum qui feci”, a beautiful work from 2016 made up of the wing cases of beautiful jewel beetles. The mosaic of wing cases causes a wonderful color hue and light reflection. There is also the impressive installation “Battlefield” (1998), a powerful work that Jan Fabre dedicates to insects. They are part of the universal balance of things, and at the same time they illustrate the desire to stage a modern metaphor of war.

Lot 510. Battelfield (1998, detail) - Est. € 34.000-44.000

Beetles in formation

“Battlefield” is a powerful artwork that Jan Fabre dedicates to insects. They are part of the universal balance of things, and at the same time they visualize the desire for staging a modern metaphor of war.

The artist develops concepts that he wants to express through visions in which the beetle plays the leading role. “Battlefield” is a front line where insects march in formation. They go through the mud in a coordinated cadence towards the edge of the table. The green wing cases of the beetles, striking in the reflection of the light, are reminiscent of the shields of knights. The battlefield of the little creatures is a metaphor for the battlefield of humanity.

Fabre's fascination with insects lies in the ability of these tiny organisms to survive for millions of years and to adapt to changing conditions. Fabre's battlefield refers on the one hand to the never-ending cycle of life and death, and on the other it raises questions about contemporary dynamics in society.

Lot 510. See detail