Gustave Van de Woestyne (Ghent 1881-1947 Brussels) Christ in the spring garden, 1907 Oil on board 58 x 40 cm Signed and dated top right: GUSTAVE / VAN DE WOESTYNE 1907 Provenance: René Van Herrewege, Ghent; André Vyncke-Van Eyck, Ghent; Galerie Vanlangenhove, Ghent; Galerie Oscar De Vos, Sint-Martens-Latem; private collection, Belgium Important literature on request
The artist's inspiration is undoubtedly the famous Ghent altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (1432) by the Van Eyck brothers. The Eucharist takes place in a front garden. In the centre, the innocent, meek lamb looks at the Saviour. The Christ figure's flowing locks of hair lean towards the Art Nouveau style. Remarkably, works by Van de Woestyne that build on a purely Christian iconography are exceptional. More often, Mary, the Mother of God, plays the leading role. A very fine example of refined, almost spiritualised allure is the Eucharistic Christ. This artwork was the only modern painting from private possession exhibited in the exhibition Van Eyck.An optical revolution (2020) at the MSK in Ghent. The death on the cross is presented decoratively and hieratic, with no ostentatious signs of suffering. Christ does not die on the cross, but he lives, in an attitude that evokes the grace and mannerism of Tuscan painted crucifixes before 1200.For the design of the Eucharistic Christ, an image of purely linear, almost abstract beauty, the maker relies on the art of contemporaries.Art nouveau is his inspiration. For instance, the rampant hairstyle of in wavy and parallel lines is reminiscent of the work of Jan Toorop, and unmistakably of certain works by George Minne. Initially, in Sint-Martens-Latem, the painter sold his work to René Van Herrewege, architect and contractor, living in De Porteneerstraat in Ghent. As an art patron, he supported his contemporaries and owned an extensive art collection. This exceptional painting is market-fresh, has never been auctioned and comes from private ownership.