Sunday, August 28, 2011
Léon Spilliaert (28 July 1881 – 23 November 1946) was a Belgian symbolist painter and graphic artist.
From childhood he displayed an interest in art and drawing. A prolific doodler and autodidact, he was predominantly a self taught artist. Sickly and reclusive, he spent most of his youth sketching scenes of ordinary life and the Belgian countryside. When he was 21 he went to work in Brussels for Edmond Deman, a publisher of the works of symbolist writers, which Spilliaert was to illustrate.
Watercolor, gouache, pastel, and charcoal—often in combination—were the means by which he produced many of his best works, among which are a number of monochrome self-portraits executed in the early years of the twentieth century. A significant influence on Spilliaert was Odilon Redon, whose expressive use of black finds parallels in his own work. Frequently depicting a lone figure in a dreamlike space, Spilliaert's paintings convey a sense of melancholy and silence.