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Rik Wouters, Genius Of Light And Color

20th century

Rik Wouters, Genius Of Light And Color

Have you heard of Rik Wouters?

He is Belgium’s best-known Fauvist, renowned for the stunning colours in his paintings. His works has often been compared with Ensor, Cézanne and even Renoir. He became quickly appreciated by his contemporaries – as you will see below he had a dazzling talent.

But his career was stopped by his death at the age of 33 in 1916.

Here he is – Rik Wouters and his wide range of paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Self-portrait with cigar, (1913), oil on canvas, 66.4 × 55.8 cm, Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, inv. 2062 © Lukas - Art in Flanders vzw. Photo Hugo Maertens

Self-portrait with cigar, (1913), oil on canvas, 66.4 × 55.8 cm, Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, inv. 2062 © Lukas – Art in Flanders vzw. Photo Hugo Maertens

Wouters had a chronic eye disease which led to his death at a young age. His life was difficult. Yet the harmonious ‘good life’ takes centre stage in his work. His love for his wife Nel was a motivating force in his work and she inspired him to create many well-known paintings and sculptures. His expressive brush strokes and the unfinished style of his canvases give a dynamic to his work that, combined with the emphasis on lighting and colour, result in an enchanting and optimistic quality.

Woman with a mantilla, (1913), pastel on cardboard, 760 × 555 mm, Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Boverie, inv. AW 2190 © Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Boverie

Woman with a mantilla, (1913), pastel on cardboard, 760 × 555 mm, Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Boverie, inv. AW 2190 © Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Boverie

The art of Rik Wouters is above all an abundance of colors and authentic, simple, touching subjects. Through his visual language, the construction of his subjects and the luminous richness of his palette. Look at this red color!

Autumn, (1913), oil on canvas, 135.5 × 140.5 cm, Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, inv. 3293, gift Dr. Ludo van Bogaert-Sheid, 1989 © Lukas - Art in Flanders vzw. Photo Hugo Maertens

Autumn, (1913), oil on canvas, 135.5 × 140.5 cm, Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, inv. 3293, gift Dr. Ludo van Bogaert-Sheid, 1989 © Lukas – Art in Flanders vzw. Photo Hugo Maertens

Wouters focused on painting and studies of light. He chose to depict interiors and still-lives, painted with a knife (spatula) and showing an abundant use of colour laid down on cardboard. In 1911 Wouters changed his style, abandoning the use of the spatula and opting for the brush. In order to obtain a maximum of transparency the painter diluted his colours and used particularly absorbing canvases. It resulted in a reduced scale of warm tones and a diminished brilliancy of colours.

Lady in blue before a mirror, (1914), oil on canvas, 121 × 123 cm, Brussels, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, inv. 8660, Mme Delporte-Livrauw and Dr. Franz Delporte bequest, Brussels, 1973 -1976 © Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels / photo : J. Geleyns - Ro scan

Lady in blue before a mirror, (1914), oil on canvas, 121 × 123 cm, Brussels, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, inv. 8660, Mme Delporte-Livrauw and Dr. Franz Delporte bequest, Brussels, 1973 -1976 © Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels / photo : J. Geleyns – Ro scan

From March 10th until June 2nd in Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium you can see the Retrospective exhibition of Rik Wouters, organized in partnership with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. This major exhibition closes the series of tributes linked to the centenary of the artist’s death.

Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

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