On October 22nd 2011 it will be a hundred years since Maurice Maeterlinck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Consequently, the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, the city where he was born, is mounting an exhibition entitled The World of George Minne and Maurice Maeterlinck.
George Minne and Maurice Maeterlinck were symmetrical spirits and in their day regarded as innovators in the international art world.
The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition sheds light on the work of both artists who had much in common in their early years and who each in his own field exerted considerable influence on European symbolism.
It portrays the artistic milieu in Ghent in which the two Belgian artists made their debut at the end of the nineteenth century and where they met figures like the poets Grégoire le Roy, Georges Rodenbach and Charles Van de Woestijne. Enriched with scores of illustrations, the book looks at the many aspects of the life and work of the two artists.
One of the most important themes is Maeterlincks relationship with the plastic arts of his time. Indeed, his thinking influenced not only the world of the theatre and music, but also that of the plastic arts.
The important place Maeterlinck occupies in the history of art is illustrated with works by artists he inspired like Odilon Redon or who were influenced by his ideas, poems or plays like Fernand Khnopff, Léon Spilliaert and Maurice Denis.
Considerable attention is also paid to George Minnes artistic evolution in this context. In the same period Minne produced his elegant sculptures which were to establish his place in the world of the European art nouveau. The exhibition and the book deal at some length with the influence he had on artists like Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka.
Over 100 artworks are reproduced in the book (paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, posters and book illustrations). They paint a varied and complete picture of the world of these two artists.