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From the depths of the soul
Rooted in the Symbolist tradition of the fin-de-siècle and drawn to the avant-garde, Léon Spilliaert (1881–1946), was a loner who never occupied a clear place in the art of his time. He shared not only his home port of Ostend with James Ensor, but also his sense of mockery and irony, non-conformity, and an urge to view the world differently. Spilliaert, however, created a spiritual visual language of his own, experimenting with pastels and gouache, playing with purified expanses of colour and elegant lines. The moonlit sea, solitary, vacantly gazing figures, beaches stripped of all human presence, empty rooms and stylized, backlit silhouettes – he invariably evoked an atmosphere of mystery, magic, and alienation.
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