Gustave Van de Woestyne

(1881-1947)

The blind

signed lower right: G. VAN DE WOESTYNE

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Literature
- Boyens, P., Sint-Martens-Latem. Kunstenaarsdop in Vlaanderen (Tielt/Sint-Martens-Latem: Lannoo/Art Book Company, 1992), 636 (ill.).
- Gepts, G., Gustave Van de Woestyne 1881-1947, tent.cat. (Antwerpen: KMSKA, 1981).
- Pauwels, P.J.H., Als een fonkelenden spiegel (Sint-Martens-Latem: Galerie Oscar De Vos, 2018), 160 (ill.).
Provenance
- Collection Paul Eeckhout (curator Museum of Fine Arts), Ghent.
Description
In May 1900, Gustave van de Woestyne followed his brother Karel to Sint-Martens-Latem. The discovery of the simple country life in Sint-Martens-Latem is accompanied by a deep religiosity. The blind was made in 1914. Meanwhile he has left the Leie village and the artist stays in Tiegem. But even after his departure from the Leiedorp, he sticks to the Latem typology. In addition to the series of farmers, De blind is a striking example of his early portraits. The clothing and background are not detailed but displayed monumentally on the image plane. The head of the blind is shown in all its details. As with the other blind, the artist has had a special eye for the fascinating face with the many wrinkles and dead eyes. This type of blind keeps the eyes half-open and a smile plays around the mouth. The man is calm and calm, despite his heavy handicap.
The transparent way of painting was apparently not used by chance. It corresponds to the pious resignation of the blind man and with his quiet life acceptance. In a succinct way, the relationship of the artist to his model is presented here as a like-minded, inner satisfaction.
It is not easy to trace allegory or symbolism in every work by Van de Woestyne. Is there a real hope for this blind man or did the painter think of the biblical saying "Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe"?
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