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London: 18 June–17 July 2013
Blain|Di Donna is showing a new exhibition of works by Paul Delvaux, bringing together over 20 oil paintings and watercolours on paper that date from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s. Curated in close collaboration with the Paul Delvaux Foundation, this was the first exhibition of the artist’s work to be shown in the United States since 1969 and has now moved to London.
This exhibition comprises loans directly from the Paul Delvaux Foundation, European museums and important private collections – with many of the works having never before travelled outside Europe. The exhibition is the first ever solo exhibition of Delvaux’s work in the United Kingdom. This is Blain|Di Donna’s fourth monographic exhibition dedicated to revisiting the oeuvre of a Surrealist master, being preceded by presentations of René Magritte, André Masson and Jean Arp.
Delvaux, like his compatriot René Magritte, was profoundly influenced by the enigmas proposed by Giorgio de Chirico’s earlier metaphysical works and the fantastical works of James Ensor. Although never directly associating himself with the Surrealist movement, but nonetheless deeply moved by the ideas of its protagonists, Delvaux similarly set forth dreamlike compositions in his paintings. Throughout his life, Delvaux retained a strong respect for the Classical world and embraced it by curiously merging traditional Renaissance perspective, a rekindling of Ingres’s voluptuous nudes, Greek and Roman architecture and their subsequent ruins, with a modernized Belgium of street cars, suburban personages and whimsical characters from Jules Verne’s illustrated novels, thus creating a mysterious theatre of the absurd.
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, which includes an essay by Anna Swinbourne, an independent art historian and curator, decorated as Chevalier de L’Ordre de La Couronne by King Albert II of Belgium for the retrospective she organized on James Ensor at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
For further information on the exhibition, see Ros Ormiston's review in June's Cassone. We will be publishing a review of the catalogue in a later issue.