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ARTIST MONOGRAPHS

PUBLISHER
Royal Academy of Arts

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 8.75 x 11.5 in. / 176 pgs / 130 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2020 p. 22   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781912520220 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $63.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

London, UK
Royal Academy of Arts, 02/23/20–05/25/20

Paris, France
Musée d'Orsay, 06/15/20–09/13/20

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ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS

Léon Spilliaert

Foreword by Luc Tuymans. Text by Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Noémie Goldman, Adrian Locke, Will Stone, Anna Testar.

Léon Spilliaert

A luminous loneliness: reveries from Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert, rival of Ensor and exponent of Nietzsche and Poe

Although often associated with Belgian symbolism, Léon Spilliaert, largely self-taught as a painter, demonstrated a peculiarly individual style. He was born in the coastal city of Ostend, and created many of his most radical works there. An introvert and insomniac who suffered from poor health as a youth, Spilliaert wandered the night-time streets of the North Sea resort, creating mysterious and highly atmospheric depictions of its dark docks, beaches and promenades. He drew influence from such painters as Odilon Redon and James Abbott McNeill Whistler as well as the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Friedrich Nietzsche; his visual explorations of the self and potent images of solitude also align him with European modernists such as Edvard Munch and Vilhelm Hammershøi.

This book brings together more than 100 works from international public and private collections across Belgium, France and the US, including a series of haunting self-portraits that Spilliaert created in his twenties. Various authors, among them the scholar behind the artist’s catalogue raisonné, discuss the artist’s singular approach and put his career in context alongside that of his more famous compatriot and contemporary James Ensor. Acclaimed Belgian painter Luc Tuymans, in many ways the heir to Spilliaert’s legacy, provides a foreword.

Léon Spilliaert (1881–1946) was born in Ostend and moved to Brussels at the age of 20. He lived and worked between the two cities for the rest of his life. From 1903 to 1904 he worked for Edmond Deman in Brussels, a publisher of symbolist writers, whose work Spilliaert was to illustrate; that same year he stayed in Paris, where he discovered the work of Munch and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose influences he acknowledged.


"Self-portrait (with Drawing Board)" (1907). Indian ink wash, brush, colored pencil and watercolor on paper, 52.7 × 37.8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of William S. Lieberman, in honor of A. Hyatt Mayor, 1980.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Guardian

Laura Cumming

A vital opportunity to catch sight of [Spilliaert's] dark and startling art in all its precise originality, and to understand him as more than a painter of the cold North Sea.

Art Newspaper

Jose da Silva

Spilliaert’s brooding, dark works [are] painted by a man whose eyes have become accustomed to nuances of night light.

Time Out London

Rosemary Waugh

Spilliaert was remarkably consistent. He found his niche and stuck to it. And that niche was: desolation.

ArtDesk

Sarah Kent

A sense of unreality – of a world seen through eyes robbed of sleep – permeates the work. ...Like a life lived in front of the mirror and the drawing board, rehearsing melancholy as well as experiencing its clutches.

BBC: Culture

Cath Pound

Léon Spilliaert’s eerie, enigmatic works inhabit a twilight netherworld between reality and dream.

Apollo

Samuel Reilly

An artist who has shunned external influences in favour of personal solitude and his morbid curiosity in what he found to hand. [...] Spilliaert offers an example of how much you can see by staying right where you are.

ARTFIXdaily

Editors

An introvert and insomniac who suffered from poor health as a youth, Spilliaert wandered the night-time streets of Ostend, creating mysterious and highly atmospheric depictions of its dark docks, beaches and promenades.

Léon Spilliaert

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/30/2020

Luc Tuymans on the ghostlike presence of Léon Spilliaert

Luc Tuymans on the ghostlike presence of Léon Spilliaert

"When I first encountered the work of Léon Spilliaert," Luc Tuymans writes in this enlightening new exhibition catalog, "I was enchanted by its awkwardness, its appearance divulging itself as if an apparition. Under blue nocturnal light, his work reveals itself from different vantage points, where objects and people undergo a process of metamorphosis, morphing into ghostlike presences. The perspective stretches to an ultimate vanishing point. Colors emerge from an atmospheric context. Shadows contain and at the same time conceal the image."

Above: "Beech Trunks," 1945. Indian ink, pen and watercolor on paper, 60 x 49 cm. Private collection.

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