Jean Brusselmans ( Brussels 1884 - Dilbeek 1953 )
Peasant Woman with Cap, 1948
Watercolor on paper, 610 x 453 mm
Signed and dated Jean Brusselmans 1948 bottom left
 
Jean Brusselmans stands out among expressionists by virtue of the tight, constructive composition of his works. Equally, they have a penetratingly concrete character achieved by clear strokes and delineation. His unique, self-confident and consistent approach never tails off into illusion or abstraction. Perhaps less emphatically than for his landscapes, this also holds for his figure studies. Here, sections of shadow and light give rise to a near-decorative scheme with mutually compensating black and colored planes. The personality of the woman ‘disappears’ in the composition’s intentional planarity. The clothing as well as the filled basket and clogs are still recognizable, but for the painter they serve purely as pretext. He searches for the typical, he searches for new significant symbols. In a time when sentimental ‘animism’ enjoyed its heyday, the hard tone of his oeuvre interpreted his free, independent position. No wonder that Brusselmans had a great influence upon young Belgian painters, for he is one of the few who had drawn useful conclusions from pre-1940’s ‘isms’.

Provenance:
Auction Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, March 1964
Collection J. Komkommer, 's Gravenwezel
 
Literature:
Robert-L. Delevoy, Jean Brusselmans, Catalogue raisonné établi par G. Brys-Schatan, Bruxelles : Laconti, 1972, cat.446 a, ill.
Ronny Van de Velde, the Mind of the Artist, Knokke, 2013, cat.nr 75
 
Artist Biography:
Started his career as a printer and a lithographer. From 1904 he devoted himself entirely to painting. He studied at the Royal Academy in Brussels. His early work is influenced by both impressionism and realism. This was followed between 1912 and 1920 by his so called "Brabants Fauve period" influenced by his friendship with Rik Wouters and Ferdinand Schirren.
From 1920 he developed his own style, caracterised by geometric and stylistic compositions, using large colored fields, with constructivist brushstrokes. However he remained a wonderful colorist. Here we can see that his source of inspiration can been found with painters such as Braque, Picasso and Leger. From 1924 until his death he worked and lived in Dilbeek. Until today you can see his influence on Belgian painters. Until the 4th of september 2011 in the Muzee at Ostende there is an exhibition of his work from the '30. It is the first important exhibition since 1980.
 

Peasant Woman with Cap, 1948