Paul Delvaux and the Antiquity
28.06 - 27.09 2009
Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros
Paul Delvaux and the Antiquity
The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation was pleased to present an honorary exhibition of the exceptionally important Belgian artist of the twentieth century Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), the work of whom was shown for the first time in our country. The exhibition was co-organized with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels.
“Paul Delvaux and the Antiquity” was held in the premises of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation in Andros, Greece (28 June – 27 September 2009) and then toured to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels. (23 October 2009 – 31 January 2010).
The exhibition consisted of 60 works of art (both oil paintings and drawings) hailing from the collections of institutions such as the Delvaux Foundation, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Brussels and other important museums, foundations, as well as private and public collections in Europe and the United States.
Paul Delvaux contributed to modern art a special, personal expression, as far as the genre of the female nude is concerned. Further to this, he established new modulations regarding the space in which painting takes action.
He pursued his pictorial stride within the symbolic codes of James Ensor, the mysterious metaphysical tension of Giorgio de Chirico and the iconographic poetry of René Magritte and although he never accepted the full title of the surrealist painter, he is considered to be an established representative of this major artistic movement.
The exhibition focused mainly on the references and the relations Delvaux developed with Greece, via its myths and the inexhaustible Greek subject-matter from which he systematically extracted facts and elements, in order to interweave his own personal, subjective mythology.
The exhibition of the highly acknowledged artist -which was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with detailed academic texts, bibliographical and work entries and a detailed biography of Delvaux - was curated by Mr. Michel Draguet, Director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels.
[…] This exhibition is not only remarkably dedicated to Greece and its colors. It constitutes a further reading of the Greek spirit, novel and original, as it combines the Greek past with the inward soul of a great artist. […]
[…] Considered a minor artist in his lifetime, he was posthumously acknowledged as a seminal figure in contemporary art. Today Delvaux’s art is often compared to that of surrealist masters Dali, Rene Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, whose work he has largely admired […]
[…] An artist that was distrusted from the dominant museums, considering him inconsequential, while today they organize major exhibitions of his work with many readings. […]
[…] Delvaux’s hand was so irreparably stung with the lust of the Greek-Roman myth, that he could as well be Greek. He worshiped gods, mythic creatures and lustful maidens and attempted to bring them in his urban environment. […]
[…] He modified the symbols and images of antiquity, embedding them with his dreams and the liberating disarray of his imagination. He reattached the remnants and the remains of ancient temples with a seductive disorder. He placed within the magical, grand ruins the wonderful Venuses of his desires, shaping new seductive narratives, composing a hallucinating realism with silent and detached, but openly recognizable, figures. Thus transforming the museum quality of a dull antiquity and the blind, complacent ancestor-worship into a living, pulsating timelessness. […]
[…] The scenographic indications of the ancient temples, the anatomic components and the contemporary expressions which coexist with the biblical and the ancient ones, constitute a poetry of ruins, both artistic and social. The reading of the antiquity within the agony and the pursuit of modern man is what is remarkable in Delvaux. […]
[…] It is an exhibition whose beauty is presumed, while the accompanying catalogue including the writings of Jean Clair, as well as his presence together with all the other personalities at the opening, make this happening unique in the Greek visual arts scene. […]
[…] The way Delvaux represents the female nudes is so delicate that it feels like an exorcism. There is an eternal poetry in his work, as if he has transcended the soul’s mirror and tasted its loss. Fascinating. […]