Musée d'Orsay: Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946). Light and solitude

Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946). Light and solitude


Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946)
 Portrait of the artist par lui-même [Self-portrait]
 Pencil, black and brown ink, pen and brush
 H. 27.4; W. 27.2 cm
 Paris, Musée d'Orsay, kept in the Graphic Arts Department, Musée du Louvre
Léon SpilliaertSelf-portrait© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Thierry Le Mage
Léon Spilliaert was a man of troubling solitude and infinite perspectives. Drawing on metaphysical questions and Flemish culture, he surprises and mystifies with his uncategorisable works, inventing a symbolism of inner darkness that has marked Belgian art.

He was inspired by the pictorial works of Odilon Redon and James Ensor, as well as the writings of Émile Verhaeren and Maurice Maeterlinck. Yet although he fell under the influence of end of the century Symbolism, his work went far beyond. His wild-eyed faces flirt with expressionism; his sleek landscapes seem to tend towards minimalism.

The exhibition - the first in France for nearly 40 years - will concentrate on the years 1900 to 1919, the most intense in his creation, and will present Spilliaert’s most radical works.


Leïla Jarbouai, graphic arts curator at the Musée d'Orsay
Anne Adriaens-Pannier, honorary curator at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Exhibition organised by the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, and the Royal Academy, London.

Exhibition presented at the Royal Academy from 19 February to 12 September 2020

With the generous support of the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders

13 October 2020 - 10 January 2021
Musée d'Orsay

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