Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Constant Montald

I've finally finished browsing through the 3-volume catalog of 20th C. Belgian sculpture -- who could have imagined there would be so much ?

One of my final discoveries was Constant Montald (1862-1944) -- who turns out to be better known as a symbolist painter -- and much better known in Belgium than anywhere else in the world. (an award for mural painting is granted each year by the Royal Belgian academy -- and there's a street with his name in Brussels)

Here's one of the few paintings I could find online -- reminds one of Waterhouse, doesn't it? I wonder how it looks in person -- the jpg looks pretty wacky: half the painting is linear and flat -- the other half projects deeply -- both forward and back. And what's with that nose ? It seems to be a simultaneous view from both straight-ahead and profile.

Whatever -- the painting seems kind of dream-like -- and kind of beautiful -- and I wish his paintings made it to America some day. (ironically -- if it were Chinese -- there would actually be a chance that a museum like the A.I.C. would own a few -- keep them in the basement -- and put them on display every ten or twenty years)

But I discovered him because, like his contemporary, Rik Wouters, he's also a good sculptor -- with that light hearted Flemish sensuality that goes back to Rubens and before. (the above pair of figures are called "Bacchanten" (1929). Is that one smiling girl eating the other's arm ??


Blogger Gawain said...

good analysis of the surface feel of the Montald

May 10, 2006  

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