Achille  Van  Sassenbrouck
Bruges  1886-1979  Gent

The  Work  on  the  Fields                              1921


oil on canvas
64 x 70 cm                                                   25.2 x 27.6 in

signed lower right Ach Van sassenbrouck.

Date:  painted in 1921

Situated:  painted in the village of Drongen - Baarle near Gent

Literature:  
Achiel Van Sassenbrouck Dendermonde 1977 p.220 ill.p.220 (Landscape  near Drongen-Baarle 1921 a signed and dated study in oil for our painting; private collection)

Note:
with the original wooden frame, sculpted and painted by the artist


Achille Van
 Van Sassenbrouck shows a landscape with people working on a field in the village of Drongen-Baarle. From 1920 the influence of plasticism and De Stijl-movement shows in his work. This is characterised by a synthesis, bright colours and attention to the construction. This voluntary schematisation led to a very personal expressionism. By using a simplified construction and stark geometrical forms he reduced the theme to its bare essence. But Van Sassenbrouck did not deform the subject. With an objective vision on reality he depicted only the key elements in a landscape and used expressionism to show a powerful composition. The solid structure becomes obvious by his interpretation of the theme. The colours are painted with almost no nuances and stay vivid and powerful. The light reveals the plastic values of the composition and makes the composition harmonious. This light radiates from the sky and the earth self. Van Sassenbrouck's brutal expressionism has a special attraction. His work looks a mixture between reality and dream. With details giving an extra dimention at the suggestive force which radiates from his paintings. The figures - with solid contours - are not posing in the landscape, but are real and monumentaly.
In 1921 Van Sassenbrouck moved from Bruges to the Brussels suburb of Elsene. Until his departure in 1925 he had contacts with avant-garde artists, writers and poets. In the capital he did regularly meet the already famous Eugene Laermans. His influence is visible in Van Sassenbrouck's themes. Both had a preference for the lower classes. But Laermans showed a subjective vision, while Van Sassenbrouck left room for an interpretation in the mind of the viewer. His subjects look spontaneous - they radiate a joie de vivre instead of a tragedy - and are less anecdotal than those of Laermans. Also Van Sassenbrouck paid equal attention to the landscape and the figures while they are bound with one other.
Achille Van Sassenbrouck was a pupil of the Academy of Fine Arts in Bruges with Edmond Van Hove. From 1908 until 1914 he followed classes at the National Superior Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp with Frans Courtens, Juliaan De Vriendt (1842-1935) and Frans Van Leemputten (1850-1914). In 1914 he volunteered in the army. He made it to the rank of sergeant but was seriously injured at the front in 1915. After a revalidation in Calais he was dismissed from active service in 1916 and established himself for about one year in Port-Villez. This village at the shores of the river Seine - between Paris and Rouen (département de l'Eure) - is near to Giverny where Claude Monet resided. By coincidence Van Sassenbrouck did encounter him on a painting expedition. Monet showed some interest in the painting he was executing, gave some advice and encouraged him to continue. In return Van Sassenbrouck did pay some visits to the master. He discovered impressionism from first hand and painted some impressionist works. In the years from 1917 until 1920 Van Sassenbrouck progressed towards a synthesis of bright colours in his paintings of soldiers and ruined landscapes. After living in Bruges for one year in 1919, Van Sassenbrouck did spent five months in Amsterdam and Volendam in 1920. On his return to Belgium in 1921 he went to live in Elsene (Brussels). Under influence of plasticism and the movement of De Stijl Van Sassenbrouck started accentuating - from 1920 on - geometrical forms. He found his definitive style in the years 1925-1928 when the artist lived in the Cité Moderne in the Brussels suburb of Sint-Agatha-Berchem. After buying a boat he undertook painting expeditions through Flanders, working in Bruges, Gent, Sint-Martens-Latem, Tielt and at the Belgian coast in Nieuwpoort, Oostende and Zeebrugge. On one of these journeys he discovered the village of Hamme, between the rivers Schelde and Durme. After returning from a trip to New York and through Canada in 1929-1930 Achille Van Sassenbrouck build himself a house at the banks of the river Durme in Hamme, where he continued to paint his powerful and attractive compositions.
Achille Van Sassenbrouck participated in exhibitions in Antwerp - e.g. with the group Lumière - Bruges, Brussels, Gent, Le Havre, Nieuwpoort, Ostend, Paris and De Panne. His work was shown on official exhibitions of Belgian Art in Brazil, Estland, France, Hongary, Italy, Lithouania, The Netherlands, the United States and Sweden. Retrospective exhibitions took place in Amsterdam (1921), Antwerp (1923, 1949 & 1974), Bruges (1919 & 1974), in the Brussels Cercle Artistique et Littéraire (1928) and the galleries L'Etoile (1929) and Kodak (1930), Hamme (1976), New York (1930) and Rotterdam (1922). Among his admirers were Jules Destrée, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Count Maurice Lippens and the art-critics Robert de Bendere, Pol de Mont, Maurice De Praeter and Emile Verhaeren. Achille Van Sassenbrouck was a Knight in the Order of the Crown since 1921 .

Museums: Museums: Collection of the City - Town Hall, Aalst; Museum of the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp; Stedelijk Musea - Groeningemuseum, Brugge; Collection of the City - Twon Hall, Bruges; Collection of the Provincie of West-Vlaanderen - Provinciaal Hof, Bruges; Stedelijke Musea - Historisch Museum van de Stad St Kruispoort, Bruges; Collection of the Belgian State, Brussels; Ministerie van Openbaar Onderwijs, Brussels; Ministerie van Openbare Werken, Brussels; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Royal Museum of the Army and History of War, Brussels; Conservatorium, Brussels; Royal Collection, Brussels; Gemeentemuseum Elsene - Musée communale d'Ixelles, Brussels; Stedelijke Musea, Dendermonde; Collection of the City, Diksmuide; Collection of the town - Town Hall, Hamme; Art Museum, Kaunus (Litauen); Council of the British Legion, London; Museum of Modern Art, Ostend; Museum of Fine Arts, Ostend; Collection of the City - Town Hall, Ostend; Musée des beaux-arts, Reims; Stedelijk Museum, Sint-Niklaas; Collection of the City - Landhuis van Waes, Sint-Niklaas; Art Museum, Tallin (Estland); Collection of the City - Town Hall, Tongeren

Bibliography:
Rotterdamsche Kunstkring: Achille Van Sassenbrouck - Albert Saverys Mevr De Meester-Obreen in Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant 25/2/1922
L'Art dans les Flandres Frédéric De Smet in Gand Artistique 3°jg. n°6 1 juni 1924
Kunstalbum - uitgegeven ter gelegenheid der Vlaamsche Wetenschappelijke Congressen Noordstar-Boerhaave Gent 10-12/4/1926
Exposition du peintre Achille Van Sassenbrouck Cercle Artistique Bruxelles 24/4-4/5/1928
Schilders van Hier en Nu Pol De Mont Antwerpen 1929
Achille Van Sassenbrouck Galerie d'art L'Etoile Bruxelles 10-29/12/1929
La peinture belge depuis 1830 Paul Colin Bruxelles 1930
Exposition du peintre Achille Van Sassenbrouck Galerie d'Art Kodak Bruxelles 9-19/12/1930
Kunstalbum - Leven en werken onzer Beeldende Kunstenaars Jef Crick Gent 1935 vol.II
Dictionnaire Biographique des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts en Belgique Eug De Seyn Bruxelles 1935 vol.II
Tentoonstelling Achiel Van Sassenbrouck Stedelijk Kunstsalon Antwerpen 10-19/12/1949
Dictionnaire des Peintres Paul Fierens Bruxelles s.d.(1951)
Beeldende Kunstenaars Stad Sint-Niklaas-Waas augustus 1953
Kunstschilder Achiel Van Sassenbrouck Frans De Vleeschouwer Sint-Niklaas s.d. (1954)
Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler Hans Vollmer Leipzig 1958 vol.IV
Oostende in de kunst - Ostende dans l'art Casino Oostende 27/6-31/8/1964
L'Art Moderne en Belgique M Eemans Bruxelles 1974
7 Arts - Bruxelles 1922-1929 S Goyens de Heusch Bruxelles 1976
Katalogus tentoonstelling met werken van meester Achiel Van Sassenbrouck Gemeentelijke Feestzaal Markt Gemeente Hamme 25/9-10/10/1976
Achiel Van Sassenbrouck W Vanbeselaere Dendermonde 1977
Catalogus van de Brugse stadsgezichten, schilderijen XVIIe - XXe eeuw, met een inleiding over het Arentshuis Dr A Janssens de Bisthoven Stedelijke Musea Brugge Brugge 1977
Inventaris-Catalogus van de Moderne Schilderkunst Prof Dr Philippe Roberts-Jones Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België Brussel 1984
De Schelde in de schilderkunst Stedelijk Museum Sint-Niklaas 1986
Het impressionisme en het fauvisme in België S Goyens de Heusch Brussel 1988
Stedelijk Kunstbezit Sint-Niklaas Stedelijk Museum Sint-Niklaas 1988
Portretten der Aalsterse Burgemeesters Belfort Stad Aalst 8/7-28/8/1988
De Brugse School G Michiels Brugge 1990
Belgian Art 1830-1930 Posada Brussels 1991
Lexicon van Westvlaamse Beeldende Kunstenaars Brugge 1992 vol.I
14 - 18 Kunstenaarsvisie Koninklijk Museum van het Leger en van Krijgsgeschiedenis Brussel 11/11/1993-31/1/1994
Le Dictionnaire des Peintres Belges du XIVe Siècle à nos Jours E De Wilde Bruxelles 1995 vol.II
Le travail - Un siècle d'Art Belge 1848-1948 Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain & Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel Liège & Gent 12/9-9/11/1997
Dictionnaire des Peintres, sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs E Bénézit Paris 1999 vol.XII
De Belgische Beeldende Kunstenaars uit de 19de en 20ste eeuw Paul Piron Brussel 1999 vol.II
Het front in kleur - Schilders aan het Belgische front, 1914-1918 Joost De Geest, Piet De Gryse Galerie van het Gemeentekrediet Passage 44 Dexia Brussel 3/2-23/5/1999


 
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