Léon SPILLIAERT (Oostend 1881 - Ixelles 1946)

Trunks of Beech Trees Sold

Watercolour, pen and Indian ink on paper.
Signed and dated L. Spilliaert / 1945 at the lower right.
373 x 272 mm. (14 5/8 x 10 3/4 in.)


In 1935 Spilliaert moved with his family from Ostend to Brussels, and it was here, far from the sea that had been the principal subject of his work until then, that he discovered a new motif. His work began to depict trees, usually seen in isolation or in a grouping, although sometimes expanded to include entire forests. Based on the trees which the artist studied in parks and in forests throughout Belgium, notably in the Ardennes region, the theme of trees and woods came to dominate Spilliaert’s late output.

The present sheet may be grouped with a series of late, finished drawings of trees and woods from the war years of the 1940’s, which are characterized by a painstaking technique of hundreds of very fine pen lines, hatched and crosshatched, drawn over a watercolour background. Among stylistically comparable drawings of tree trunks, each dated or datable to 1945, are examples in the collections of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Ixelles, the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp.

Anonymous sale, Lokeren, Galerie de Vuyst, 8 October 2005, lot 570
Private collection, London.

Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Spilliaert: le regard de l’âme, Brussels, 2006, p.210, fig.307.


Trunks of Beech Trees


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