Léon SpilliaertSelf-portrait© ADAGP, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Thierry Le Mage
Spilliaert (1881-1946) was the man of disturbing solitudes, hallucinated faces, infinite perspectives and enigmatic silhouettes. The originality of this interpretation already dominated the dark washes of his early years through which he indulged in intensive introspection resulting in his famous self-portraits as a visionary. He had affinities with his contemporaries in both painting and literature: Emile Verhaeren, Maurice Maeterlinck, Odilon Redon, Edouard Vuillard, James Ensor... Nevertheless, if he was influenced by the fin-de siècle spirit, his work would develop well beyond Symbolism.
Throughout his career, Léon Spilliaert surprised and perplexed the public, inventing a symbolism of inner darkness that left its mark in Belgian art of the first half of the 20th century.
Dr. Anne Adriaens-Pannier, curator, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique and Marie-Pierre Salé, curator, Musée d'Orsay
Exhibition organised with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, also presented from 21 September, 2006 to 3 February, 2007 at the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.