Edgard Tytgat. Memory of a Beloved Window

Edgard Tytgat. Memory of a Beloved Window

Thursday, December 7, 2017 — The Brussels-based artist Edgard Tytgat (1879-1957) was a painter, author, and engraver, but more than anything, he was an incredible storyteller. He observed everyday life with an acute sense of detail or drew inspiration from mythology or art history. On his canvasses, he translated these inspirations into complex images that combine fantasy, absurdity and humour in disarming ways. His style was unique in the history of Belgian painting. M is bringing the born storyteller and painter Edgard Tytgat back to life with more than 70 works from both museum and private collections. The exhibition ‘Edgard Tytgat. Memory of a Beloved Window’ runs from 08.12.2017 until 08.04.2018 at M-Museum Leuven.

Edgard Tytgat

The Brussels-based artist Edgard Tytgat (1879-1957) painted almost five hundred canvasses as well as hundreds of watercolours, woodcuts, etchings and drawings. He pulls out all the visual stops to create a bittersweet world, characterized by clumsy drawings of figures, simple lines, strange perspective and muted, simplified colours. His art is thus impossible to categorize as a particular ‘-ism’. Nevertheless, Tytgat’s style, which is combines impressionist, expressionist and modernist components, is clear and recognizable.

Love for the Window

Tytgat’s own life was a profound source of inspiration. All his themes were painted inside his own house, with scenes and characters from his own life. They include his wife, Maria, who was his muse, and his good friend Rik Wouters. This means that his oeuvre is deeply autobiographical, with the window as a frequently recurring theme. As Tytgat himself wrote: “I love windows… It is from there, the upstairs window, that I attempted to reproduce the impressions that overwhelmed me. You see all the beautiful things that the window offered me. It is through the window that I learned to love light, fairs, children, and all the things that cause a commotion.”

Bittersweet Nostalgia

Edgard Tytgat’s paintings are immersed in an atmosphere of lost innocence, eroticism, vaudeville, etc. They frequently feature children, young women, nuns, monks, musicians, carnies, fairs, the circus, Greek myths and biblical stories. These are all subjects, titles, and characters that are difficult to decipher at first glance. Curator Gust Van den Berghe: “Tytgat painted a fairy tale with no plot. If you look at many of his works together, you soon see the outline of a larger, invisible story. As I mentioned, it is plotless, but there are too many overlaps for it to be a coincidence.”

According to curator Peter Carpreau, Tytgat’s real power lies in his virtuoso storytelling. “Tytgat’s inherent legacy is immense. You have to dive into his works to get to know him. And you gradually discover that he brought together all the visual narrative techniques since the Middle Ages in his paintings. This is precisely what makes him unique in the history of Belgian painting, and what we will be highlighting in this exhibition.”

Cinematic Visual Language

Sixty years after his death, this exhibition is putting Tytgat back in the spotlight. In addition to more than 70 oil paintings, M is presenting previously unseen archival material including videos, diaries and short stories. Director and co-curator Gust Van den Berghe saw visual language in the work of Swedish director Roy Andersson that is very similar to Tytgat’s narrative style. Both Andersson’s and Tytgat’s worlds are enriched through the juxtaposition of their works.

Curators

Peter Carpreau & Gust Van den Berghe

The house of Edgard Tytgat | Terkamerenstraat, Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe<br/>(c) Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, Archief voor Hedendaagse Kunst in België<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Eight women, 1940 ©Collectie Gemeentemuseum Den Haag<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
(c) Dirk Pauwels
Edgard Tytgat. Young girl in the attic, 1950, privécollectie<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat,Tytgat and the Waxen Figures, 1927<br/>©Ville de Grenoble/ Musée de Grenoble – J.L. Lacroix<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Prologue to a broken love, 1928, <br/>©Musée de Woluwe-Saint-Lambert - Centre Albert Marinus, foto Renaud Schrobiltgen<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, When Husband Dear goes Hunting…, 1953, <br/>©Antwerpen, The Phoebus Foundation<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Desire and remorse, 1941, privécollectie<br/>©Dieter Daemen<br/><br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Euphrasia posing for the first time, 1941<br/>©Dieter Daemen<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat,Some Images from the Life of an Artist, 1946<br/>©Dieter Daemen<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, The last doll, 1923,<br/>Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Gent ©www.lukasweb.be - Arts in Flanders vzw, foto Dominique Provost<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, The tragic old men, 1924, <br/>©Dominique Provost<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Young Girl in a Glass Coffin, 1932<br/>©Peter Cox<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Fantasy, Puppets and Landscape, 1912 ©Cedric Verhelst<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
(c) Dirk Pauwels
(c) Dirk Pauwels
Edgard Tytgat, Inspiration, 1926  ©Antwerpen, The Phoebus Foundation<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Eight Women and a Convent (story consisting of 5 volumes), 1941-1947, pencil and watercolor on paper, 31 x 25,4 cm, private collection  © M-Museum Leuven<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
(c) Dirk Pauwels
(c) Dirk Pauwels
(c) Dirk Pauwels
Edgard Tytgat with the painting 'Some images out of the life of the artist '<br/>(c) Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, Archief voor Hedendaagse Kunst in België
Edgard Tytgat and his wife Mary, at the atelier of the artist <br/>(c) Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, Archief voor Hedendaagse Kunst in België
Edgard Tytgat, Ministerial Visite, 1934 © Peter Cox<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Mary’s Breakfast, 1947 ©Dieter Daemen<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
Edgard Tytgat, Moving statue 1955, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Parlement<br/>© Dieter Daemen<br/>(c) SABAM Belgium 2017
(c) Dirk Pauwels
(c) Dirk Pauwels