Joseph DE BELDER ( Antwerp 1871 - 1927 )

Still life with arum lilies


Still life with arum lilies


oil on canvas
98 x 120 cm.
signed

As a study of complex spatial relationships, this painting may owe something to Whistler’s Harmony in Green and Rose of 1860-61, with its arrangement of looking-glass and reflections, picture frames, porcelain and flowered fabrics. This would indicate either that De Belder visited London as a student in 1892 or 1894, or that he was working in or visited Paris in 1905. The objects assembled around the arum lilies are notable for their interest in japonaiserie (the fans, the porcelain, the ginger jar, the doll, the coloured print), whilst elements of the composition (the looking-glass, the frame, the sense of another space within part of the picture, the flowers) recall the more advanced japonisme which influenced composition and space in works by Whistler and Degas. De Belder’s grasp of spatial organization and his ability to choreograph the elements of the composition from fore- to back- ground and within the reflected room beyond, are extremely sophisticated, as is his control of colour across the surface of the canvas.

Joseph DE BELDER