Gustave De Smet

(1877-1943)

Flemish farm

1928
oil on canvas
62 x 79 cm (24³/₈ x 31¹/₈ inches)
framed: 83 x 99 cm
signed lower left: Gust. De Smet

signed lower left: Gust. De Smet

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Literature
- Le Centaure (Brussels: November 1929), 36.
- Fierens, P. (Brussels: 1939), 518.
- L'Aurore (Brussels: September 1944), 5.
- Langui, E. (Brussels: 1945), pl. 53.
- De Ridder, A. (Antwerp: 1952), 36.
- Langui, E., 440.
- Pauwels, P.J.H., V. van Doorne, Leie. Rimpeloze eenvoud (Deinze: MuDeL, 2010), 89, 109, no. 62 (ill.).
Exhibitions
- 1936, Brussels, no. 120
- 1938, Antwerp, no. 56
- 2010, Deinze, MuDeL, Leie. Rimpeloze eenvoud, 25.09-28.11.2010, no. 89 (ill.).
Provenance
- collection M. Janlet, Brussels
- Galerie Lou Cosijn, Brussels
- collection Polfliet, Eyne
- collection Van de Velde, Oostkamp
Description
Gust. De Smet, after returning to Belgium in 1922, incorporated the influence of German Expressionism and French post-cubism into his own idiom. The movement of his Dutch canvases gives way to a poetic atmosphere of serene equanimity. The need for order and stability after the First World War, the so-called 'retour à l'ordre', was also expressed in De Smet's work. In his search for equilibrium, after 1926 the artist painted strongly abstracted compositions for a number of years, with a preference for national themes, such as the village, the farm and the fields in a less strict style. The land on which he lived and which his neighbors worked to earn their living became the core of his subjects. In the Flemish homestead, the artist reduced the area around the farm to a style of his own: "Tout qui veut avoir accès à son univers doit se prêter à la schematisation ... Les maison, la grange, l'église ne peuvent exister dans son universs agreste que si elles consentent à prendre des formes cubiques ... La réduction à l'essentiel, au schema est chez De Smet un souci constant, une exigence premiàre intransigeante "(Haesaerts, on page 283). By doing this, he was able to create his own world full of expressive quality of the hard-working Flemish farmer. Extreme simplification gave this work a visual power and a force of expression of rare intensity. Because of the strong surface divisions, outlines with colored surfaces, the painting almost childishly naive. The colorful cows in the foreground are turned on rather than painted and the painter gives them a universal character. Besides intimacy, the painting radiates a general sense of well-being. The Flemish homestead painting is a small masterpiece of Flemish expressionism.
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