Théo van Rysselberghe

La Baie de Sainte Brelade


oil on canvas
25.75 x 32 inches (65,4 x 81,3 cm)
signed with monogram and dated lower right

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Provenance: Private collection, acquired in the 1940s; Christie’s London, June 25, 2008, Impressionist and Modern Art Sale, lot 478; Private collection, Virginia

Pascal de Sadeleer and Olivier Bertrand will include this painting in their forthcoming van Rysselberghe catalogue raisonne being prepared for the Belgian Art Research Institute. 

Ronald Feltkamp will also include this painting in his forthcoming supplement to the van Rysselberghe catalogue raisonne under number 1907.067.

An important Neo-Impressionist composition of the Saint Brélade coast by Belgian artist Théo van Rysselberghe. His rebellion of the constraining academic standards at the turn of the 20th century proved crucial to the history of European art. Today, van Rysselberghe’s works are in great demand, and are rarely seen outside of prestigious private collections. 

In La Baie de Sainte Brélade, Jersey, van Rysselberghe interprets the intrinsic beauty of the St. Brélade coastline with long strokes of rich color, capturing the sunlight playing on the surface of the water and radiating the rocky shoreline. Located on the southwest tip of the Bailliwick of Jersey, it is one of the Channel Islands that lie just off the coast of Normandy. This work demonstrates his ability to manipulate light in such a way that the viewer can almost feel the heat of the sun’s brilliant rays. This work is an example from his Neo-Impressionist period, as he pushed the envelope of his pointillist techniques by lengthening his brush stroke and brightening his color palette. 

Van Rysselberghe began his artistic studies at the Academy of Ghent, moving on to attend the Academy of Brussels in 1880 under the direction of Jean-François Portaels. His showings at the Salons of Ghent and Brussels were mainly showcases of his realist works, largely inspired by the Belgian tradition. His attention soon shifted to the works of the Impressionists, and he co-founded the pivotal Belgian artistic circle Les XX, which rebelled against what they felt to be “outdated” academic standards. After attending the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886, however, van Rysselberghe became completely enamored with Neo-Impressionism, namely pointillism. By 1910,van Rysselberghe abandoned pointillism altogether, focusing the rest of his artistic career on landscapes and nudes. 


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