Valerius De Saedeleer

(1867-1941)

Snow landscape at dusk

1924
Oil on canvas
87 x 96 cm (34 ¹/₄ x 37 ³/₄ inches)
Frame: 104 x 115 cm (41 x 45 ¹/₄ inches)
Signed and dated lower right: Valerius de Saedeleer / 1924

Signed and dated lower right: Valerius de Saedeleer / 1924

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Literature
- Eemans, M., "Valerius De Saedeleer," unpublished master proof (Gent: UGent, 1975), no. 119, ill. 89.
- Boyens, P. Sint-Martens-Latem. Kunstenaarsdorp in Vlaanderen (Tielt/Sint-Martens-Latem: Lannoo/Art Book Company, 1992), p. 591 (ill.).
- Boyens, P. & V. Van Doorne, Valerius De Saedeleer. De tuin der afwezigen, exh. cat. (Tielt/Deinze: Lannoo/MuDeL, 2006), pp. 117, 125, 189, no. 72 (ill.). 
- Van der Giessen, B., A. van Lienden & M. Windhausen (red.), Valerius de Saedeleer, Gustave Van de Woestyne. Bevriende meesterschilders, exh. cat. (Spanbroek: Scheringa museum voor realisme, 2008), pp. 34, 40, 92, no. 15 (ill.).
- Bourdeaudhui, J., Valerius De Saedeleer (Maarkedal: Heemkundige Kring, 2014), 230-231, no. 11.79 en 11.82 (ill.).
- Pauwels, P.J.H., Als een fonkelenden spiegel (Sint-Martens-Latem: Galerie Oscar De Vos, 2019), p. 206 (ill.)
Exhibitions
- 1933, Aalst, Belfortzaal (Townhall), Valerius De Saedeleer, cat. no. 8.
- 1967, Aalst, Oud-Hospitaal, Retrospectieve tentoonstelling Valerius De Saedeleer, 07-29.10.1967, cat. no. 86.
- 2006, Deinze, MuDeL, Valerius De Saedeleer. De tuin der afwezigen, 23.09-26.11.2006, no. 76 (ill.).
- 2008, Spanbroek, Scheringa Museum voor Realisme, Bevriende Meesterschilders Valerius De Saedeleer en Gustave Van de Woestyne, 19.10.2008-01.02.2009, no. 15.
Provenance
- Collection Mrs. L.F. François and children, Ghent.
- Private collection, West Flanders.
Description
After a restless bohemian existence, Valerius De Saedeleer settled in the artists' village of Sint-Martens-Latem in 1898. After his exile in Wales, he finds his home in Etikhove on the Bossenaersheuvel. Charmed by the mystical atmosphere, he finally finds his way. A visit to the exhibition of the Flemish Primitives in Bruges in 1902 inspired his style. He transferred their meditative peace, fine brushwork and linear drawing to the Slate landscape and later to the Flemish Ardennes. With Bruegel's Hunters in the Snow in mind, he creates an ideal Flemish landscape in winter. Under a massive grey sky, a gently undulating vista dotted with humble farms unfolds. Silent bare black trees bring structure and rhythm to the panorama of this archetypal Flemish winter, unwavering as a Flemish farmer. (F. Huygens)

Snow landscape at dusk is one of the finest examples of the mature painting style of Valerius de Saedeleer. At that time he has been active as a painter for more than thirty years, evolving from the late realism of Franz Courtens and the luminism of Emile Claus, to a particularly personal symbolism. After World War I, the sloping surroundings of Etikhove became his base as a painter. He often painted the landscape from the same angle, regardless of the seasons. There are different versions of this landscape, seen from the top of the Bossenaar hill with the undulating landscape in the distance. The row of trees in the foreground is used as a screen, as an introduction to the landscape. As the seasons succeed each other, the color of the landscape and the sky also changes. In Snow Landscape at night, the colors are muted by the winter light of the setting sun. Furthermore, the composition is roughly evenly divided into a land and air party. In the panoramic landscape De Saedeleer repeatedly used a row of trees as a border between different zones. Other transitions are less radical, and merge harmoniously. Of all the versions, Snow landscape has most of the time retained an authentic and independent character. The landscape is shrouded in peace, all sound and movement seem to have been smothered by the snow. The successive snow zones give a special rhythm to the painting. The elegant line of the tree trunks soften the horizontalism of the painting, which is determined by the almost straight line of the horizon. The naked crowns cut through the thin freezing air, which is painted as a sliding glaze in the landscapes of Flemish primitives. Snow landscape at dusk is of profound beauty and intrigues at the same time through the combination of line and color. Here the bucolic richness of the Flemish landscape is brought in a way that combines silence with the spirit, nature with symbolism.
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Snow landscape at dusk