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Silhouette of the Artist, 1907

  • pastel (material), watercolour, paper
  • 498 x 652 mm
  • Inv. 1954-O

Public Domain

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Léon Spilliaert created several self-portraits between 1907 and November 1908, which clearly highlight a change in composition method. In the first portraits dating back to 1907, such as this Silhouette of the Artist, Spilliaert depicts himself against a neutral background. The profound effect of this painting is due to the fact that we are looking at a figure against backlight, which creates a sharp contrast with the intense, summer sunlight outside. James Ensor and Edvard Munch employed a similar technique. The delicate lace curtain, wrought iron window decoration, console and mahogany chair, which form the décor, were probably added later. They are depicted in subtle colours using blue, red and green pencils. In later self-portraits, Spilliaert used a mirror as a structural element.


Léon Spilliaert RKD VIAF Wikidata
Ostend 1881 - Brussels 1946
draftsmen (artists)AAT

Title Silhouette of the Artist
Date 1907
Period 20th century
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings signature and year top right: L. Spilliaert 07
Collection print room
Object type watercolour AAT
pastels (visual works) AAT
Inventory number 1954-O
Acquisition credit purchase
Spilliaert, Madeleine
Current whereabouts Work currently not on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300124520 interior views AAT
300124534 self-portraits AAT
300189808 figures (representations) AAT
Keywords Iconclass 22C light Iconclass
22C1 natural light Iconclass
31A235 sitting figure Iconclass
31A71 male sex; man Iconclass
31D14 adult man Iconclass
41A3311 open window Iconclass
41A335 window-seat Iconclass
41A421 curtains Iconclass
41A721 chairs (furniture forms) Iconclass
43C71511 shadow pictures (~ hand games) Iconclass
48B3 portrait, self-portrait of artist Iconclass
61B2 historical persons Iconclass
61B2(SPILLIAERT, Leon) historical person (SPILLIAERT, Leon) Iconclass
61D(BELGIUM) geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (names of cities and villages excepted) (BELGIUM) Iconclass
61E(OSTEND) names of cities and villages (OSTEND) Iconclass
School / Style Symbolism (artistic concept) AAT
Van nu en straks : Belle Epoque in Vlaanderen (tentoonstelling Gent, Sint-Pietersabdij, 9.12.1983 - 5.2.1984) / Vera Claes, Rita Compère, Jenny Dheedene. - Gent : Stad Gent, 1983 (nr. 87)
Leon Spilliaert in zijn tijd / Francine-Claire Legrand. - Tielt : Uitgeverij Lannoo, 1981 (p. 188, nr. 35)
Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent : Tekeningen, pastels en aquarellen; Inventaris / Moniek Nagels. - Gent : Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, 1988 (p. 48)
200 jaar verzamelen : Collectieboek Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent / Arnout Balis, Robert Hoozee, Maximiliaan P.J. Martens, Paul Van Haute. - Gent : Ludion, 2000 (p. 272 (ill. 155))
D'Ensor à Magritte dans les collections du Musée de Gand (exposition Lodève, Musée de Lodève-Hôtel du Cardinal de Fleury, 19 novembre 2004 - 27 février 2005) / Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Robert Hoozee, Johan De Smet, Helke Lauwaert, Bruno Fornari. - Lodève : Musée de Lodève, 2004 ; Milano : Mazzotta, 2004 (p. 129-131, cat. 32)
Kunstenaarsportretten (uit Antwerpen, Brugge en Gent : tentoonstelling Gent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 26 mei - 19 augustus 2007) / Dorine Cardyn-Oomen, Nanny Schrijvers, Monique Tahon-Vanroose. - Gent : Vlaamse Kunstcollectie, 2007 (p. 58, nr. 60 (ill.))
Het Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent : een keuze uit de mooiste werken / Patrick De Rynck. - Gent : Ludion, 2007 (p. 94 (ill.))
Belgische schone : Ensor tot Magritte ; Hoogtepunten uit de verzameling van het Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent (tentoonstelling Laren, Singer Laren, 16.06 - 30.08.2015) / Johan De Smet, Jan Rudolph De Lorm. - Gent : Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, 2015 ; Laren : Singer Laren, 2015 ; Heule : Uitgeverij Snoeck, 2015 (cat. 22 (ill.))
Antwerpen - Brugge - Gent : De musea en hun kunstschatten van Van Eyck tot Magritte ; ontdek het rijke erfgoed in drie Vlaamse steden ; de Vlaamse Kunstcollectie / Geert Souvereyns, Till-Holger Borchert, Paul Vandenbroeck. - Dijon : Éditions Faton, 2007 (p. 85 (ill.))
James Ensor : Schrecken ohne Ende (Ausstellung Wuppertal, Von der Heydt-Museum, 12. Oktober 2008 - 8. februar 2009) / Gerhard Finckh, Joachim Heusinger von Waldegg, Herwig Todts, Norbert Hostyn. - Wuppertal : Von der Heydt-Museum, 2008
Léon Spilliaert (Exhibition London, Royal Academy of Arts, 23.02.2020 - 25.05.2020 ; Paris, Musée d'Orsay, 15.06.2020 - 13.09.2020) / Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Adrian Locke, Leïla Jarbouai, Noémie Goldman, Will Stone, Anna Testar, Luc Tuymans. - London : Royal Academy of Arts, 2020
Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946) : Lumière et solitude (exposition Paris, Musée d'Orsay, 13.10.2020 - 10.01.2021 ; London, Royal Academy of Arts, 23.02.2020 - 25.05.2020) / Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Leïla Jarbouai, Noémie Goldman, Sébastien Mullier, Will Stone, Anna Testar. - Paris : Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais, 2020
Gewagte Visionen : George Minne und Léon Spilliaert : Vom Symbolismus zum Expressionismus (Ausstellung Neuss, Clemens Sels Museum, 22.10.2023 - 03.03.2024) / Bettina Zeman, Ralph Gleis, Cathérine Verleysen, Noémie Goldman. - Neuss : Clemens-Sels-Museum, 2023 ; Köln : Wienand Verlag, 2023 (pp.72-73, p.151)
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