Frits Van den Berghe

(1883-1939)

Parade of masks

1930
oil on canvas
70 x 65 cm
framed: 94 x 87.5 cm

Signed lower right: FVBerghe

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Literature
- De Ridder, A., G. Marlier, Sélection. Cronique de la vie artistique, cahier 12 (Brussel/Anvers: Editions Sélection, 1931), 113 (ill.).
- Langui, E., Frits Van den Berghe (1933), 31.
- E. Langui, Frits Van den Berghe (Antwerpen: Mercatorfonds, 1968), p. 312, no. 351 (ill.).
- P. Boyens, "Sint-Martens-Latem. Kunstenaarsdorp aan de Leie" (Tielt: Lannoo, 1992), p. 527 (ill.).
- Kortenhoef, cat. (Kortenhoef: s.n., 1993).
- Boyens, P., Frits Van den Berghe, cat. (Oostende: PMMK, 1999), 452, no. 695 (ill.).
- Boyens, P. & G. Marquenie, Frits Van den Berghe (Oostende: PMMK, 1999), p. 232, 290, no. 129 (ill.).
- Pauwels, P.J.H., Als een fonkelenden spiegel (Sint-Martens-Latem: Galerie Oscar De Vos, 2019), 300 (ill.).
Exhibitions
- 1931, Brussel, no. 15.
- 1931, Frankfurt.
- 1931, Antwerpen, no. 281.
- 1993, Kortenhoef.
Provenance
- Galerie Le Centaure, Brussels, 1932.
- Paul-Gustave Van Hecke, Brussels, 1933.
Description
The painting Parade of masks shows a procession of strange misdeeds, partly human, partly animal in nature. The central motif is an excessive, homologous mask that is worn by a naked woman. She is surrounded by malevolent beings, who do not seem to step next to her, but rather to oust her. Some creatures have been reduced to a caricature, others have snouts and a lusty Amazon can be seen even further. At first sight, such paintings seem difficult to read. In a sense, they are related to the wonderful masquerades of Hieronymus Bosch and of James Ensor, who, however, presented the mask in the first place as a disguise. In the continuity of Van den Berghes work around 1930, however, this "bal masqué" must be interpreted as a variation on the idea of ​​the companions, an idea that the artist worked out in various paintings around that time. The concept refers to the painter himself, but is not elaborated in a self-portrait. In other words, the painter brings an image of himself, albeit in a less similar, more universal representation. In this psychic self-portrait, Van den Berghe shows himself in all his insecurity, besieged as he is by constantly changing thoughts, desires, fears and urges that are depicted by the creatures that surround him. Together they make up his personality, who, hesitant in his decisions, is driven by primary instincts. The painting Parade of masks is the imagination of the human being who is always confronted with himself on his life path. Like many of his paintings, it once belonged to the collection of Walter Schwarzenberg, around 1930 one of the most important promoters of the international avant-garde in Belgium.
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