A Year: Day to Day Men: 23rd of November, Solar Year 2018
Tiny Bears in a Row
November 23, 1862 was the birthdate of Belgian Neo-Impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe.
Born in Ghent, Théo van Rysselberghe studied at the Academy of Ghent under Theo Canneel and later at the Academie Royal des Beaux-Arts in Brussels under Jean-François Portaels. Van Rysselberghe was strongly influenced by North African paintings, which had become the fashion in Belgium. He made three trips to Morocco, staying there for a year and a half.
Van Rysselberghe painted his “Self Portrait with Pipe” in 1880, in the somber colors of the Belgium realistic tradition. His “Child in an Open Spot in the Forest”, also painted in that year, showed a move to impressionism. He started traveling extensively with his friends, impressionist Frantz Charlet and Asturian painter Dario de Regoyos, throughout Spain and Morocco, staying in Tanger for four months starting in October of 1882. At this time, Van Rysselberghe painted and drew many scenes form the streets and in the souk, including the 1882 “Arabian Street Cobbler”, the 1882 “Arabian Boy”, and “Resting Guard” in 1883.
Van Rysselberghe saw the works of the impressionists Monet and Auguste Renoir at the show of “Les XX” in 1886, becoming deeply impressed. He experimented with this technique in his 1886 “Woman with Japanese Album”. This impressionist influence became prominent in his later paintings. In 1886 he also discovered the pointillist techniques at that Eighth Impressionist Exhibition in Paris, abandoning realism and became an adept of pointillism,
Theo Van Rysselberghe’s “Gate of Mansour-El-Hay” and”Morocco-the Great Souk”, both done in 1887, are painted in the pointillist style, but still with short strokes of paint and not with points. These are among his rare pointillist paintings of Morocco. When he had finished these paintings, he stopped completely with this Moroccan period in his life. Van Rysselberghen then turned to portraiture, resulting in a series of neo- impressionist portraits. His famous portrait of Alice Sèthe, painted in 1888 in blue and gold, would become a turning point in his life. In this painting he used only points of paint on the canvas.
In 1898 Van Rysselberghe moved to Paris, although he maintained close links with the artistic milieu of Brussels, and executed in 1902, among other works, a series of decorative panels for the HÃ´tel Solvay, belonging to Victor Horta. Van Rysselberghe also played an important role in the introduction of the fauvist painters, whom he had met through his friend Paul Signac, to Belgium. From 1903 onward, his neo- Impressionism began to give way to more restrained forms, and during the last years of his life he also executed some sculptures. Van Rysselberghe died on the 13th of December of 1926 in Saint-Clair, France.