Emile Claus founded in 1904 together with Adriaan Josef Heymans and other artists the group 'Vie er Lumière'. His overriding concern was to fill his paintings with as much light as possible. It was a movement that he had been working towards all his life and whose principal impetus came from the French impressionists. Claus had exhibited with the avant garde movement of Octave Maus, 'Les XX' and 'La Libre Esthétique' but by founding 'Vie et Lumière' he wanted to channel his ideas with greater purpose.
In the 1880's Claus had acquired an old hunting lodge at Astene on the banks of the river Lys which was called 'Villa Zonneschyn'. It was here that he spent most of his working life. The valley of the Lys and the surrounding landscape provided the subject matter and inspiration for many of hi greatest paintings.
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