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THEME ROOM - 14-18. Between exile and melancholy

THEME ROOM - 14-18. Between exile and melancholy 25.06 > 20.09.2015

25.06 > 20.09.2015
Exhibition extended

On display in one of the museum’s permanent galleries, in conjunction with events organised by the commune of Ixelles around the 1914 – 1918 commemoration, the Museum of Ixelles presents a poignant exhibition of the lives of Belgian painters and how war influenced their work.  Many artists took the road to exile, to the Netherlands or the United Kingdom and were influenced by foreign artists.  Twenty paintings and sculptures by Gustave De Smet, Constant Permeke, Rik Wouters, Walter Sauer and Louis Thévenet together with our own collections are on display.  If the works rarely depict war itself, the story of their creation confronts the tragedy from another perspective, through the history of art. Many pieces contrast with the harsh reality of the conflict and serve to show how art can both transcend the everyday and encapsulate life away from battle.

The influence of the war on Belgian artists

14-18, Belgian artists between exile and melancholy is part of the First World War commemorations by the Commune of Ixelles. This exhibition, composed of works from our permanent collections, evokes this historic time through artists and their creations.

On the eve of the First World War, Belgian landscape painting was still largely influenced by impressionism and symbolism.  Yet a young generation of artists, free from the duty of a realistic representation of the world, turned to new aesthetic experimentation influenced by Cezanne and cubism.

Advocating personal experience of sensations rather than impressions, Ferdinand Schirren, Louis Thevenet and Rik Wouters used colour to empower and suggested forms unlocked from the constraints of drawing. Their subjects were drawn from everyday life such as their families, gardens or homes. Sometimes known as the Brabant Fauvists, they were supported and exhibited by the Giroux Gallery, opened in Brussels in 1912. In Flanders, near Gent, at Laethem-Saint-Martin, Frits Van den Berghe, Gustave and Leon De Smet flee the city and yearn to reconnect with a more symbolic, poetic and religious art…



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