ChasingART Celebrates Winter

Winter in Flanders by Valerius De Saedeleer (Public Domain)

Spring is coming. The crocuses have made their appearance, their vibrant colours enhanced by the dark soil that surrounds them. It is a time of transition and rebirth as winter, with poignant graciousness, accepts the warmth of the sun and the earth’s long-anticipated awakening.

View of Tiegem in Winter by Valerius de Saedeleer (Public Domain)

In the next series, ChasingART will say a warm farewell to winter, remembering with gratitude this season’s gifts of long evenings of tea and books, of bracing winter walks, of snow and celebrations, and solitude and reflection.

Celebrating winter begins with the Belgian landscape painter, Valerius de Saedeleer (1867–1941). A son of a small businessman of a soda and soap making factory, Valerius de Saedeleer was not content with his employment as an apprentice at a Ghent weaving workshop. Without his parents’ knowledge or permission, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. And so began his artistic journey that was to influence modernist trends in Belgian painting and sculpture. His work was guided by what is known as a symbolist and mystic-religious sensitivity as well as giving a nod to the traditions of 16th-century Flemish landscape painting.

Blue sky – yellow landscape, trees without leaves, small house by Valerius De Saedeleer (Public Domain)

What I most appreciate about Valerius de Saedeleer’s winter scenes is the positioning of the trees. Winter allows us to see the beauty of bare branches, the structure that will hold the leaves of spring, summer and autumn. Only in winter do we see the foundation that supports and sustains renewal, growth, and wisdom.

17 Comments »

  1. Interesting style!
    It really is mind blowing how many artists have left their art marks for humanity. Thank you for including some history.
    Crazy, but people here are going nuts because the AGO is having an Andy Warhol exhibition soon, featuring many of his most famous works. In some ways he doesn’t hold a candle to classic painters, yet, he has left an art mark for us.
    In the end art will tell a more honest story of humankind, than writings. One can change written history, but it would be very difficult to change a painting.

    • Oh, that would be the most awesome retrospective – Andy Warhol immortalized our time, our society, our philosophies . I would love to see this. I understand its coming in March 2021, so I have time to see if I can make it over to your side of the world. I am taking an art history course these past few weeks and you are so right – art and history are intertwined. So much to learn and experience – always exciting.

    • Thank you for your visit and comments! I am enjoying this mini-research project into winter scenes – so many perspectives on winter, from landscape to family fun, to community events. Winter becomes more exciting the more I look at the way artists look at winter.

  2. I always appreciate the artists you introduce to us. De Saedeleer captures well the diminished light and far too early evenings of winter’s sky. I agree with Cindy. Your prose is always the perfect accompaniment.

    • Thank you for your heartwarming comments, Mary Jo. What I find fascinating about the study of art, is the enormous body of work that has come down through the centuries. Reading the background on a sculpture, painting, watercolour has given me a greater appreciation for creativity, and what it takes to fulfill the call of art. The journey is not for the faint of heart. It is demanding, unrelenting, even as it is life-affirming. Many endured hardship. Many produced work that was rejected or misunderstood during their lifetime only to embraced by future generations. And yet, they persevered, despite it all. It is a call to action for me explore these amazing people. “A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers by only see a wisp of smoke.” Vincent Van Gogh

    • Thank you, Jo! I had never heard of this artist before I found his winter paintings. A remarkable biography. Although he had success in his first exhibition in 1901, he couldn’t make a living from his art so he was forced to raise poultry for a living. He exhibited at the 1904 exhibitions of the Berlin, Munich and Vienna Succession and went on to exhibit in Ghent in 1906. He moved to Tiegem in 1908 and in 1914 moved to Wales as refugees from WWI. In 1920 he moved again to Etikhove, Belgian. In 1937 he moved to Leupegem. There was a lot of moving during his lifetime. I am finding that there are many types of winter paintings. I’m enjoying this mini research project. Thanks for joining me…

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