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Guillaume Van Strydonck. (1861-1937). 

Willows at the Edges of Escaut.


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Guillaume Van Strydonck. (1861-1937). Willows at the Edges of Escaut.

Guillaume Van Strydonck, at the 12 years age, begins his training of painter. 
From 1876 to 1884 he studies with the Academy of the fine arts of Brussels, then he enters to the workshop of Jean-Leon Gérôme, at the National school of the fine arts in Paris. 
He begins in a realistic style then he evolves to impressionism and he becomes one of the precursors of the luminism. It is a founding member of the group of Brussels vanguard : The Twenties. He travels much to Europe, to Florida, to India (5 years) and carries out portraits, landscapes and scenes of kind. Of return in Belgium, it settles along Escaut, in Weert. Then he teaches with the royal Academy of the fine arts of Brussels of 1900 to 1931.
Paradoxically one can say that the neo-impressionism reached Belgium before impressionism. The pointillism and the Flemish tradition of fidelity to nature are 2 additional characteristics of the luminism. 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.
The luminists wish to carry out definite and organized paintings, they remain faithful to the truth, exactitude, the beauty of the effect of the colours but they want to keep one 
precise, skilful, and authentic drawing. That results like here by landscapes with precise contours but also in the will to give a certain relief to nature. While studying this work of Guillaume Van Strydonck we will see that the artist, while adopting a very academic composition, literally carved his painting with the knife to give volume and relief to his picture. While working in thickness then by striating pictorial surface with stabs carried out with the edges of its tool it carries out hatchings, scratches and erasures which give volume and one modelled which reinforce the realistic side of the painting. The parts concerned are the way in the center of which the spectator feels the uneven one, the grass in edge and the foliage of the trees to express volumes but also the trunk of the trees and water…Doubtless Inspired in the manner of Vincent Van Gogh, this position is a technical choice which with final gives a painting extremely successful. Escaut is a river which takes its source in the north of France. It runs out towards north while passing by Cambrai and Valencians then, after being entered to Belgium, sprinkles Tournai, Audenarde, Ghent, Termonde and Antwerp after having received water of affluents such as the Lieie and Dendre. Downstream from Antwerp, the river widens gradually in an estuary, the Western Escaut, which joined the North Sea at the level of the town of Flessingue. 

The horizon is located about at the center of the painting. The point of view of the spectator is a little above. The glance is initially attracted with far, it follows the way. Then it roves on the left discovering the foliage of the trees in the foreground, then it turns over on the right to the wire of the river noticing the boat which brings back it in the direction of the way.

Framing the glance, 2 trees are located on the right and left tension fields on the 4 natural points of interest. 

The vegetation occupies the 2/3 of pictorial space, the sky and water is on the third third. 

The artist uses the 2 large diagonals. From right to left for the guiding lines of the way, from left to right with regard to the trunks and the branches of the trees. 

Details : 

To reproduce the volume of the foliage, the painter traced in thickness with his knife various colours of green to horizontal or in oblique.

The relief and the uneven one of the way are represented by stabs of square form.

By carving the matter with his knife the artist appears modelled trunks and the branches of the trees. 

Light : The scene is enlightened of in bottom on the right. 

Colours : Harmony between cold colours.

Similar Paintings : 

Guillaume Van Strydonck. The Nap.

Emile Claus. Young country-women going on the edges of the Leie.

Emile Claus. The Leie with Astene.

Emile Claus. Afternoon Along The River.