Leon Spilliaert Hardback Catalogue

This 176-page hardback catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition ‘Léon Spilliaert’ at the Royal Academy of Arts, 23 February to 25 May 2020.

This book brings together over a hundred works from international collections, including a series of haunting self-portraits that Spilliaert created in his twenties, which are considered outstanding examples of the genre. Authoritative authors discuss the artist’s singular approach and put his remarkable career in context. Luc Tuymans, the influential Belgian painter who considers Spilliaert a key influence, introduces the book.

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Dimensions 29.2 x 3 x 22.2cm
Fabric & material Hardback
No. of Pages 176
SKU 12090420

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Product story

Although he is often associated with the key figures of Belgian Symbolism, Léon Spilliaert in fact had a peculiarly individual style. Born in Ostend, he worked there for most of his career. An introvert and insomniac who suffered from poor health as a young man, Spilliaert wandered the night-time streets of the North Sea resort, creating mysterious and highly atmospheric evocations of its dark docks, beaches and promenades. Almost entirely self-taught, he drew influence from such painters as Odilon Redon and James Abbott McNeill Whistler as well as the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Friedrich Nietzsche.

The book includes over 100 works from international collections, illustrating the full span of Spilliaert’s career. Three essays by expert authors further expand the themes of the exhibition:

 - Anne Adriaens-Pannier and Noémie Goldman on Spilliaert’s extraordinary career, focusing on the creative role played by his hometown of Ostend

- Adrian Locke on the significance of walking, loneliness and the night in the work of Spilliaert and related artists

- Will Stone on Spilliaert’s rule-breaking illustrations for the key Symbolist poets Emile Verhaeren and Maurice Maeterlinck

The Belgian painter Luc Tuymans, who considers Spilliaert a key influence, introduces the book.

For more exhibition catalogues produced by RA Publications, click here.