Kunstmuseum aan zee Collecties van
de Vlaamse Gemeenschap
en
Stad Oostende

Collectie highlights

Jean Brusselmans, Strandzicht met baadsters (en bewolkte lucht boven de zee), ca. 1934.Collectie Mu.ZEE, Oostende. Foto : Steven Decroos. © SABAM 2012

Strandzicht met baadsters (Beach view with bathing women)

Jean Brusselmans
1884 - 1953

1934
Jean Brusselmans, Strandzicht met baadsters (en bewolkte lucht boven de zee), ca. 1934.Collectie Mu.ZEE, Oostende. Foto : Steven Decroos. © SABAM 2012
Jean Brusselmans has painted several variations of naked women with long black hair, combing their hair or putting it up. He first used this theme in 1925 in Naakten die zich het haar opmaken (Naked women doing their hair). For Brusselmans, this theme was a compositional challenge. In order to put more emphasis on the shape and contour of his figures, Brusselmans often used plain coloured planes as background. Sometimes the coloured plane is part of the story, as is the case in Strandzicht met baadsters (Beach view with bathing women). The composition is systematically organised as a theatre set. Brusselmans was familiar with the theatre world. As a sideline, he used to paint décors for opera and drama. For the 1935 World Expo in Brussels, he designed a wall painting for which he chose the same position for a naked woman as in Strandzicht met baadsters (Beach view with bathing women).
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende © SABAM 2012

De sjees (The chaise)

Constant Permeke
1886 - 1952

1926
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende © SABAM 2012
Permeke was born in Antwerp but moved to Ostend with his family when he was still a child. In the years before the First World War, he settled in Sint-Martens-Latem for a while, a village on the banks of the Leie, where he formed the second “Latemse groep” together with, amongst others, Albert Servaes, Gustave De Smet and Frits Van den Berghe. Permeke was deeply moved by the roughness of rural life and the bond of the farmer with his land. A deeply human sympathy for the hard-working man is at the centre of his work. He paints massive figures which fall apart in geometrical planes and which radiate monumentalism. Disfigured hands, feet and faces are pictured with great expression.
Photo : D. de Kievith. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

De gendarmen

JAMES ENSOR
1860 - 1949 Oostende

1892
Photo : D. de Kievith. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
A conflict between Ostend fishermen and English fishermen escalated one morning in August 1887. The police and gendarmes could no longer keep the furious fishermen under control. People were killed and wounded. These events must have made a huge impression on Ensor. In 1888, the etching for De gendarmes was ready for printing. In the painting, Ensor raises the facts above the level of another news item. In the little mortuary, gendarmes keep watch beside two dead fishermen. The praying nun symbolises the sanctimonious clergy. In the top right-hand corner, a judge looks on in amusement. De gendarmes is not only a social indictment: the painting also hits out sharply against the machinery of repression.
Photo : D. de Kievith. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Zelfportret met rood potlood, (Self-portrait with red pencil)

Leon Spilliaert
1881 - 1946

1908
Photo : D. de Kievith. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

During his youth, Spilliaert painted a series of self-portraits.
At first, they were simple reflections of his appearance, but later on they evolved into complicated images in which reality, reflection and fantasy merge. In Zelfportret met rood potlood he portrays himself as a black silhouette with dark circles under the eyes. Decisively, he is holding a red pencil in his hand. He finds himself in a room of his parental house, in some sort of nocturnal light. He is wearing a dark suit with a stiff collar, something he would wear frequently. Everybody who had met Spilliaert in those days was touched by his appearance which gave away his tormented restless soul.

Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM Belgium 2012

La Bétonneuse

WIM DELVOYE
Wervik, 1965

1992
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM Belgium 2012
Wim Delvoye’s objects and installations have an ambiguous relationship with the practice of art. Concrete mixers with Baroque wood carving, handball goals with glass frames, gas cylinders and circular saws with Delft motifs illustrate Delvoye’s inventiveness in combining paradoxical elements. In his astute vision of the role of art in a society focused on consumption and spectacle, he himself acts as artist-manager. He does not carry out the traditional hand craft work on his objects himself, but subcontracts it to the most suitable professionals or specialists.
Photo : Steven Decroos. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © Panamarenko

Noordzee pedalo (North Sea pedalo)

Panamarenko
Antwerpen, 1940

1994
Photo : Steven Decroos. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © Panamarenko
Noordzee pedalo is one of the highlights of Panamarenko’s water experiments. The objective of this underwater pedalo is for one person to cross the North Sea. The pilot takes his place on a saddle and is strapped up with several safety belts. The bicycle pedals activate a small propeller at the rear end of the body. A four meter long metal bar with a lead weight of 10 kg keeps the vessel balanced under water. ‘In order to brave the waves, I have made the pedalo into some sort of small submarine just under the beating of the waves. The long stabilisation bar moves the centre of gravity in order to keep the device stable.’
Photo : Steven Decroos. Collection Mu.ZEE Oostende. © SABAM 2012

De Schelde. Hé, wat een plezierige zottigheid

JAN FABRE
Antwerpen, 1958

1986
Photo : Steven Decroos. Collection Mu.ZEE Oostende. © SABAM 2012
Jan Fabre has used blue ink from ballpoint pens – biros – as his trademark in his drawings and installations since the end of the 1970s. From sheets of paper in larger and larger formats, objects and bathtubs to whole castles, he depicts them all in blue ballpoint. On the monochrome blue background of his drawings, he portrays hazy blue impressions of nocturnal animals: bats, owls, insects. The blue colour stands for “the blue hour”, the time when nocturnal animals find a place to sleep and the other animals wake up – the time when night and day flow into one another. For him, the owl is the most fascinating creature of the night, one that he cherishes as a life companion.
By courtesy of the artist. Collection Mu.ZEE Oostende.

Matrasdrager (carrier of the mattress)

PHILIP AGUIRRE Y OTEGUI
Schoten, 1961

2001
By courtesy of the artist. Collection Mu.ZEE Oostende.
Matrasdrager, a life-size concrete figure, is a traveller or refugee who only takes the most basic things on the journey. Although the image radiates restfulness, the tragic story of the refugee can be sensed beneath the surface. Philip Aguirre y Otegui often incorporates topical or political content into his sculptures. He starts from a fundamentally humanist viewpoint. His inspiration for the forms and proportions of his concrete figures comes from a classical language of form.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © Luc Tuymans

Wolken (Clouds)

Luc Tuymans
Mortsel, 1958

1986
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © Luc Tuymans
Luc Tuymans approaches social themes with a somewhat distant look. He mixes colour with white to obtain a cool, faded palette which, combined with a flat and apparently simple technique, creates a tranquil, neutral and distant atmosphere. In his paintings, Tuymans pictures reality in a filtered cinematic way. Indeed, reality does not let itself be portrayed that easily. It is exactly this inability to capture reality, this failing of the art of painting, which forms the essence of Tuymans’ art.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Wat begrijpen we eigenlijk (What exactly do we understand)

Roger Raveel
Machelen-aan-de-Leie, 1921

1970
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
Sometime halfway through the twentieth century, when Belgium was in a phase of lyrical abstraction, Roger Raveel developed his own visual language. With direct visual language and clear and vivid colouring, he examines space. He did this, either by cutting off his paintings or letting them flow into space, or by integrating white planes with thick black frames. He went even further by integrating real objects into his works of art, even before pop art. By using mirrors, he involved the observer and his environment in his works of art. By bringing reality into his art, Raveel examines the relativity of the experience of reality.
Photo : D. de Kievith. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Untitled

KAREL APPEL
1921 - 2006

1957
Photo : D. de Kievith. Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
At the end of the 1950s, the Dutch artist Karel Appel made an international breakthrough. He developed his own style inspired by jazz music and moved in “the direction of abstract art. Like the other COBRA artists, he rejected the prevailing artistic trends and sought inspiration in mythology and children’s drawings.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Département des Aigles

MARCEL BROODTHAERS
1924 - 1976

1968
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
In 1968, Broodthaers began his large-scale project Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, his own fictitious museum. He produced the first section, Section XIXe siècle, in his studio, where he placed a few empty packing crates and hung up a couple of reproductions of paintings. This work raises a number of issues relating to the role of museums and the way in which works of art are displayed. In his art, Broodthaers was sharply critical of the hypocrisy and lust for power in our society. He placed the emphasis on the concept, which he felt was more important than the physical form it was given. As a result, he is usually considered to be a conceptual artist, although his work cannot be classified under a single heading.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © ANTOON DE CLERCK

Wat ik zag op een heldere dag (what I saw on a bright day)

ANTOON DE CLERCK
1923 - 2001

1972
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © ANTOON DE CLERCK
The paintings of Antoon De Clerck from the 1970s look very realistic. The artist primarily painted impressions from his day-to-day surroundings. Striking features of Wat ik zag op een heldere dag are the instinctive reproduction of the hard metal sheen of the car, the rough brick wall and the reflective surface of the window. The colour intensity and the bright light sublimate reality and give the canvas a meditative, unreal character.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Een boom voor mijn zoon Sammy (A tree for my son Sammy)

ETIENNE ELIAS
1936 - 2007 Oostende

1970
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
Etienne Elias took his inspiration for Een boom voor mijn zoon Sammy from old Flemish and Italian masters in the rendering of fine detail. The work also shows the unmistakable influence of naive artists such as Henri Rousseau. Elias synthesised both of these elements into an idealistic realism with unexpected interplays between reality and imagination. Etienne Elias was a pupil of Roger Raveel and focused in his painting on pictoriality and narrative. While his use of colour leans on the vivid colouring of Raveel, Elias’ style and sharp humour refer to the ‘new’ English generation of David Hockney, amongst others.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © MARIE-JO LAFONTAINE

Belle Jeunesse

MARIE-JO LAFONTAINE
Antwerpen, 1950

1998
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © MARIE-JO LAFONTAINE
Marie-Jo Lafontaine’s photographic oeuvre includes series of enlarged portraits of young people. Saturated colours, a monochrome background, the size of the portraits and the piercing gazes of the young people give the photos a confrontational intensity. The repetition, or rather the placing of similar portraits beside one another, heightens the strong individuality of the people depicted. Lafontaine shows us the social reality of the children and teenagers in a contemporary way. Identity and contact are key words in her work, alongside globalisation and cultural diversity.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Torsions mobilo statique

WALTER LEBLANC
Antwerpen, 1932

Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
Op(tical) art primarily places its emphasis on creating the illusion of movement. A similar starting point can be found in the oeuvre of Walter Leblanc. In his ‘twisted strings’, he stretches twisted cotton threads in parallel or converging formations across the canvas, which thus becomes a relief. The works seem to vibrate, they catch and reflect the light, and they show the result of a study of light and shadow. The ‘mobilo-statics’ are formed by parallel, usually vertically placed, twisting strips of plastic, which gain kinetic properties through their virtual mobility. Leblanc’s rhythmic play with the light retains a certain poetry and intuition, in spite of a minimalist sense of order, not least due to the necessary movement and interaction of the onlooker in the perception of his work.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. ©Paul Joostens

Collages, undated

Paul Joostens
1889 - 1960

Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. ©Paul Joostens
Around 1917, Paul Joostens experimented with several modernist styles, such as cubism, futurism and expressionism. He was active in the circle around the young poet Paul Van Ostaijen, which also included Floris Jespers, Oscar Jespers and Jozef Peeters. A few years later, he followed his own path and produced his most modernising, avant-garde paintings, drawings and collages. He focused on the direction of single-minded dadaism and called art into question in a simultaneously playful and rebellious way.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Slice Landscape II

Raoul De Keyser
Deinze, 1930

1970
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

With his ‘slices’ series, Raoul De Keyser created narrow panels that were placed against the wall. He saw them as objects in space, like his previous ‘dozen’ series. Together with Roger Raveel, Etienne Elias and Reinier Lucassen, Raoul De Keyser is one of the representatives of the New Vision group. But he went further than the ode to daily life of the New Vision. He wanted to keep the essence, without damaging the poetry. In his own subjective way, he called the art of painting into question and explored its pure qualities.

Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012

Studie I (Study I)

Georges Vantongerloo
1886 - 1965

1920
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © SABAM 2012
In 1918, Georges Vantongerloo signed the “De Stijl” (The Style) manifest in the Netherlands. The following years, his attention was drawn to researching colour, based on Newton’s theories. He aimed for a universal form of art with scientific harmony. He completed mathematical constructions composed of pure lines (at first only straight lines, later on also curves) and bright colours. Contrary to Piet Mondriaan, Vantongerloo did not limit himself to primary colours only. However, they do share the predominant use of horizontal and vertical lines in their paintings.
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © JACQUES VERDUYN

Transistormeisje

JACQUES VERDUYN
Brugge, 1946

1974
Photo : AD/ART 2001 Collection Mu.ZEE, Oostende. © JACQUES VERDUYN

In order to make his hyperrealist sculptures as lifelike as possible, Jacques Verduyn works with casts of the bodies of his models. The detailed realism that he can achieve in this way is further enhanced by providing the sculpted figures with true-to-life hair cuts and clothing, and through a created context of real objects. Onlookers experience an illusion of reality, but when you realise that the images are artificial, the critique of enforced fashion trends (in this case from the 1960s), a consumer society and the increasing anonymity of the individual becomes clear.