A largely self-taught artist, Spilliaert was a sickly and reclusive child, who spent a great deal of time doodling. In 1917, at the age of 20, Spilliaert moved to Brussels with his wife and their young child to escape German occupation. There, he became an illustrator for Edmond Deman – a publisher of symbolist literature – taking inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and Odilon Redon. Spilliaert's health complaints continued into adulthood, and in addition to a chronic stomach condition, he suffered from insomnia. Unable to sleep, he wandered empty streets and dark forests, scenes that he recreated in his sparse and moody paintings.
Léon Spilliaert, Woman at the Shoreline, 1910. Indian ink, coloured pencil and pastel on paper, 49 x 60 cm. Private collection. Photo: © Cedric Verhelst
The exhibition will feature around 80 works by the artist from major collections across the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and will appeal to those who like their art on the darker side. It will be the perfect chance for new discoveries and if you enjoyed Edvard Munch at the British Museum, this could be just the thing for you.
|What||Léon Spilliaert exhibition, Royal Academy|
|Where||Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
23 Feb 20 – 25 May 20, Daily 10am–6pm
|Website||Click here for more information|