Léon Spilliaert, a Troubled and Troubling Painter – the low countries


I was considering writing in a little more depth about Leon Spilliaert, as I’ve been discovering that I have focused on his melancholy seascapes, isolating night scenes of Ostend and lonely figures, and hadn’t realised that there was more to his work in terms of emotional range. What I seem to be discovering is a similarity to Munch’s depictions of the human condition, as can be seen in these works:


Then I found this article by Michael Palmer which I can thoroughly recommend. In it, he describes Spilliaert’s use of dark colour:

black and grey were his favourites – and they were clashing, acidic and harsh rather than voluptuous. His use of colour was not so much descriptive as decorative and expressive.

Think there is a good chance the Royal Academy’s exhibition will be my highlight of the year!

And, just to really raise my expectations, if this spooky owl is there, I shall be completely overjoyed!