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Luminism in Belgium. 

The Belgian Luminists Painters .

04.09.2016.



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Luminism in Belgium. The Belgian Luminists Painters .

Impressionism, throughout the world, gave rise to various derived movements, into Belgium, it is transformed into luminism which is a specifically Belgian adjustment of this concept of French origin.

Paradoxically one can say that the neo-impressionism reached Belgium before impressionism. The pointillism and the Flemish tradition of fidelity to nature, the use of colours full with light close to the fauvism are the characteristics of the Belgian luminism.

The luminists wish to carry out paintings definite and organized, they remain faithful to the truth, exactitude, the beauty of the effect of the colours and with their luminosity but they want to keep a precise, skilful and authentic drawing. That results by landscapes with precise contours but also in the will to give a certain relief to nature.

One can consider the luminism in Belgium as a form of impressionism which concentrates on the light effects. The Belgian luminism combines a delicate, fine, sometimes split key and a sunny pallet. The forms are detached in a fog from light and are carried out with small jerked blows of brush. The essential difference with French impressionism remains in the great part of realism and naturalism which are always present in the majority of works. Emile Claus is the figurehead of the luminism, he use the sunny colours but it does not use tons them improvisers of the draft. Later than impressionism the luminism integrates the assets of the post impressionism, certain paintings are of invoice completely pointillist and certain painters use the colours of the fauvism. 

Their leader, Emile Claus is a rather atypical painter, he has several manners of painting. Excel draftsman he can have a precise key and return details of an extreme smoothness: October Morning on the River Lily, A Meeting on a Bridge, but it can also adopt the manner divisionist, as one sees it in the Harvest. The divisionism of Emile Claus is very close to that of Camille Pissarro and quite different from the pointillism from Seurat which uses thousands of very compacts points or from Paul Signac to which the colours are often close to the fauvism. Technically this divisionism is that of Pissarro but the colours used are those of Vincent Van Gogh during the period that it passed to Arles. Paintings divisionists of Emile Claus : Young country-women walking on the edges of the Lieie, use the pallet of Pissarro. Or sometimes also that of Matisse. It is a form of genius to know to take as a starting point each painter in what it has of better. 

However with time the painters luminists were a little forgotten and a century later their international repute grew blurred. Recognized and admired especially in Belgium and Flanders, They are little known on the international market of Art. It is difficult to support the comparison with the immense one and universal fame of Impressionism, especially the world of art is opaque and unjust, often dominated by great financial interests, the word luminism and the painter Emile Claus from great numbers of encyclopedias or dictionaries of painting are often absent, so that one can affirm that the Belgian luminists painters are forgotten by history of Art. Speaking of him a little today it’s only to return justice to them.

The Belgian or Dutch Luminists painters are about thirty. We will present them alphabetically to you then we will try to explain why the critic, the merchants, the galleries, the museums, especially in France, neglected them and forgot and why their notoriety remained only confined in Belgium…

Anna Boch (1848-1936) is first of all impressionist, Celebrates especially to have bought table of Vincent Van Gogh The Red Vineyard (1888) in 1890 when work is exposed to Brussels with the living room of the Twenty per 400 Francs, which makes of it the only customer of Vincent alive, she is an informed collector. she has a perfect command of the draft, it can also use a very tight divisionism but gradually its works and its colours approach Fauvism. The painting of Vincent the Red Vineyard painted in 1888 announces Fauvism whose first living room will take place in 1905. 
Anna De Weert (1867-1950) reveals us an impressionism close to Renoir or Monet. 
Juliette Wytsman (1866-1925) can paint the flowers and the details of nature to perfection, its key is light and precise. 
Jenny Montigny (1875-1937) is close to Emile Claus, it carries out works with the similar key of those of Armand Guillaumin but also of the landscapes whose colours are related in Fauvism. 
Evariste Carpentier (1845-1922) is a prolific painter, his paintings go from pure impressionism to the perfect naturalism, he seeks to move with subjects which represent the life in the countryside filled children and animals of the farm. 
Undeniable leader of the movement Emile Claus (1849-1924), although enough ignored out of Belgium, is the painter which has the most notoriety in the Luminists. Friend of Pissarro, Cezanne and Monet his work is the reflection of the movement. At the same time impressionist, divisionist and naturalist one says of him that it puts the sun on bottle. 
Louis Clesse (1889-1961) is one of those which can make the synthesis between impressionism and Fauvism.
Lucien Frank (1857-1920) manages to enormously put light in realistic paintings. 
Franz Gailliard (1861-1932), like James Ensor, represents especially the scenes of the Carnival of Brussels, its pictures shows the relationship between this one and Death. 
The Holy Place Gudule.1890.
The work of Alfred Hazledine (1876-1957) is a judicious compromise between Fauvism and Impressionism.
The colors of Adriaan Joseph Heymans (1839-1921) are generally of true surprises. 
Modest Huys (1874-1932) sails between the key of Van Gogh and that of Signac.
Marcel Jefferys (1872-1924) likes the reflections of nature in water. 
Paul Mathieu (1872-1932) seems to hesitate between divisionism and Fauvism but its paintings are luminous. 
Jose Wolf (1885-1964) adopts the key of Cezanne and the quasi geometrical forms.
Many painters tried to imitate the key of Renoir during its luster period, seldom with as much success than Leon De Smet (1881-1966) in Roze Harmony (1912), the painting was sold 645.294 € on February 4th, 2015 at Sotheby' S in London.
Pierre Thévenet (1870-1937) carries out landscapes of a seizing clearness. 
Richard Heintz (1871-1929) and Rodolphe De Saegher (1871-1941) with the manner of the impressionists paint rising or sunset.
Guillaume Van Strydonck (1861-1937) adopts the impressionist manner or a realistic style.
In the representation of the details. 
The key of Ferdinand Willaert (1861-1938) made wonder. 
Finally Rodolphe Wytsman (1860-1927) knows painter in an impressionist style of the landscapes abounding in light, but it can also use the colours of Fauvism to give them a particular atmosphere. 

The First World War, and of the terrible upheavals, opposed the career of these painters of the light. Belgium being much occupied they exiled itself in London. As it is seen the painters Luminists one carried out the synthesis between several different pictorial movements. Impressionism, Divisionism, Fauvism, Naturalism, Realism. The paintings are often very distant to each other. The same painter can produce completely different works what does nothing but increase confusion. 
Roof of misfortune, the painters of the second generation of Hudson River School, in the United States, between 1850 and 1870, approach them also the painting of landscape with a clear realism. They concentrate on the light effects and of atmosphere and them also are made call the Luminists. They are the American Luminists, the figurehead of this generation is the only pupil of Cole, Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900). 
Also let us remember that the majority the impressionist artists who did not have a personal fortune, or who did not gain with the national lottery, like Armand Guillaumin, knew all, even Claude Monet, of serious financial problems quite simply because they did not manage to sell their paintings. The 1st Impressionist Exposure takes place at Nadar from April 15th to May 15th, 1874. 30 artists take part in it.
All the press ridicules them. One can read in the Figaro in particular: “One has just opened an exposure which one says being of painting 5 or 6 lunatics, of which a woman, (Berthe Morisot) were given there go. These so-called artists take paintings, colour and brushes, throw randomly some tons and sign the whole. ” The French press only speaks about them to make fun about it. It is slowly that the impressionist artists will manage to acquire the favor of the public and it is especially thanks to the assistance of the merchant of art Paul Durand-Ruel, which organizes an exposure in London and especially in New York into 1886 which is the first great success of the impressionists. But this success does not benefit all : in 1898 Alfred Sisley sells a painting of the series of the Flood in Marly for 180 francs. He lives in misery. His wife falls ill and dies on October 8th, 1898. Reached of a serious disease as one says today it dies on January 29th, 1899 in the cold and the hunger and atrocious sufferings. Its correspondence testifies some. One year after its death in 1900 the painting which it had sold 180 francs is bought 43.000 Francs, colossal sum at the time.Let us remember-also that Vincent Van Gogh, with share the Red Vineyard sold in Anna Boch forever nothing sold alive. 
Between 1874 and 1899 some judicious collectors bought impressionist masterpieces for a bread mouthful. Do the press and criticism have wanted to compensate for their lack of understanding ? Always it is that the impressionist movement which lasted only one ten years and which completely upset the market of Art always dominated the market, its dimension did not cease going up until our days. The painters who came then suffered all. Fortunately during this favourable period Anna Boch, informed collector joined together an important collection of impressionist works. After its disappearance this collection was sold with the biddings, according to its wills, and the money was used to pay to the retirement of her friends the poor Luminists artists.

The paintings of the Belgian Luminists artists, forgotten by the history of Art, can be seen in Belium : 

To the royal Museums of the fine arts from Belgium to Brussels, 
to the Museum of the fine arts of Liege, 
to the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, 
to the Museum of Deinze and Country of the Lieie, 
to the Museum of Beautiful arts of Ghent, 
to the royal Museum of the fine arts in Antwerp, 
to Saint-Jose-ten-Noode with the Charlier Museum, 
to the Museum of Ixelles, 
to the Museum of the fine arts of Tournai.