Théo Van Rysselberghe (1862-1926) is one of the emblematic figures of Neo-Impressionism, together with Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. With his delicate touch, refined chromatic sense and great elegance, above all in his portraits, he produced some of the finest works of divisionism.
Yet Van Rysselberghes oeuvre is not limited to the works of his Neo-Impressionist period (1888-96), even though it is for these that he is best known internationally. Distancing himself from the strict division of colours, he subsequently moved towards a more fluid style, though always retaining great luminosity. His portraits and female nudes, the landscapes he brought back from his numerous trips (Morocco, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands) reveal insatiable curiosity and immense talent, coupled with rare sensibility.
This catalogue presents a large number of works shown for the first time in public. Théo van Rysselberghes fascinating and unusually extensive correspondence has served as a point of departure for a number of the contributions to this publication. It has enabled us to discover both the man and the artist, revealing his ambitions and disappointments and lifting the veil on his various interests and projects.
The contributors to this publication have focused on Théo van Rysselberghe’s life as well as his development as an artist. Some have examined his close relationships with a range of personalities among the artists and writers of his age (Seurat, Signac, Cross, Toulouse-Lautrec, Verhaeren, Gide and Maus, to name just a few). Others have retraced his journeys in Morocco and Italy or examined his special ties with France, where he settled in 1898. Together these contributions shed new light on an artist celebrated, yet still not well known, for works of outstanding beauty and deep sincerity.