Frits Van den Berghe

(1883-1939)

The companions

1932
Oil on canvas
160 x 125 cm
Signed and dated lower right: FVBerghe / 32

Signed and dated lower right: FVBerghe / 32

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Literature
- Koninckx, W., L'art contemporain. Exposition d'art belge moderne en Suède, exh. cat. (Stockholm/Antwerp: Kurt Lindberg/ Kunst van Heden, 1934).
- Koninckx, W., Belgisk kunst. Belgisk utstillung av moderne kunst i Norge ordnet ved L'art contemporain i Antwerpen, exh. cat. (Oslo/Antwerp: Morten Johansens boktrykkeri/ Kunstneres Hus/ Kunst van Heden, 1934).
- Langui, E., "Frits Van den Berghe," in: Vooruit, Gent, 14.03.1937.
- Haesaerts, L. & P., Les Compagnons de l'Art, exh. cat. (Bruxelles: Palais des Beaux-Arts, 1938), preface.
- Langui, E., "Vlaamsche Mythomanie in dienst van Hitler - Gesjacher met onze 'volksverbonden' kunstenaars," in: Vooruit, Gent, 01.01.1939.
- Langui, E., "Frits Van den Berghe en de jongere generatie," in: Kunst-Kultuur, jrg. 1, Gent, KASK, 1940, p. 4 (ill.).
- Van Hecke, P.-G., "Frits Van den Berghe," in: Les Peintres Contemporains (Bruxelles: 1948), p. 99-110.
- Van Hecke, P.-G., "A propos des deux expositions de Frits Van den Berghe," in: Les Arts plastiques, nrs. 5-6 (Bruxelles: 1948), p. 240-242, pl. 55 (ill.).
- Haesaerts, P., Sint-Martens-Latem. Gezegend oord van de Vlaamse kunst (Brussel: Arcade: 1965), no. 689 (ill.).
- Langui, E., Frits Van den Berghe. Catalogue raisonné de son oeuvre peint (Bruxelles: Laconte, 1966), no. 396 (ill.).
- Langui, E., Het Expressionisme in België (Brussel: 1970), pl. 81, p. 128 (ill.).
- Hoozee, R., M. Tahon-Vanroose & S. Bown-Taevenier, Frits Van den Berghe, exh. cat. (Gent/Utrecht: MSK/Centraal Museum, 1983), p. 164.
- Boyens, P., Frits Van den Berghe, exh. cat. (Oostende: PMMK, 1999), p. 161, 233, no. 132 (ill.).
- Boyens, P. Frits Van den Berghe 1883-1939 (Gent: SD&Z, 1999), p. 290, no. 753 (ill.).
- Pauwels, P.J.H., Als een fonkelenden spiegel (Sint-Martens-Latem: Galerie Oscar De Vos, 2019), p. 296-297 (ill.).
Exhibitions
- 1933, Ghent, Feestpaleis van Vooruit, Frits Van den Berghe en Joseph Cantré, Socialistische Studiekring, 30.04-12.05.1933, no. 6.
- 1934, Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthal, Belgisk Konst (Kunst van Heden), 03.03-25.03.1934, no. 204.
- 1934, Oslo, Kunsteners Hus, Belgisk kunst - Belgisk utstillung av moderne kunst i Norge ordnet ved L'art contemporain i Antwerpen (Kunst van Heden), 26.05-17.06.1934, no. 204.
- 1937, Moscow & Leningrad, Staatsmuseum voor Moderne Kunst, Hedendaagse Belgische Kunst, z.d., no. 9.
- 1938, Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Les Compagnons de l'Art, 18.06-31.08.1938, no. 187 (ill.).
- 1997, Deurle, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle: 6 juli 1997 - Craigie Horsfield, Paul Robbrecht, 06.07-05.10.1997.
- 1999, Ostend, PMMK, Retrospectieve Frits Van den Berghe 1883-1939, 16.11.1999-13.02.2000, no. 132.
Provenance
- Collection Bénédict Goldtschmidt, Brussels.
- Collection Hubert Schots, Sint-Jezus-Eik (Overijse)
- Collection Oscar De Vos, Afsnee (Ghent)
- Collection Guy Pieters, Sint-Martens-Latem
- Collection dr. J. Steyaert, Aalst
- Collection Wittamer, Brussels
Description
The Companions occupy a special place in the world of Frits Van den Berghe. He sees beings, whether alone or in a couple, as being dissolved in eternal matter, where spirit and form are reduced to dust to be reborn to a new life, but chaotic according to the whims of a biology deregulated. In this jungle of primary life, man is of course the toy of innumerable dark powers which inevitably lie in wait for him. This unforgiving atmosphere is manifest in The Companions, a 1932 work in which the central figure is exposed, not without a kind of masochism, in the midst of characters who seem to have escaped from the hell of Jerome Bosch. More severe for himself than for his fellows, Van den Berghe submits the most intimate of himself to a lucid and severe psychoanalysis; he formulates the diagnosis in The Companions. In this painting, we see the painter invariably seated, distraught and turned away from the world, while he listens to the siren song of human passions which pierce his soul and body. "One of the great paintings" and "great work" according to the art magazines of the time, "this painting which approaches the style of monumental frescoes and whose content belongs to the timeless and universal life of the sick, must certainly be found with Bosch and Bruegel, but also with Goya, Baldung, Dürer and all those who, at times, have probed the human subconscious."

On the back: exhibition labels and the artist's address.

Also titled: De Compagnons (III)
 
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The companions