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29 juin 2018

AXEL VERVOORDT, Stand C2 at Masterpiece London 2018


Large vase Layered alabaster Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, XXIst - XXVth Dynasty, ca. 1070 - 656 B.C. H: 28 cm. Courtesy Axel Vervoordt

ProvenancePrivate collection, France, since 1970s.



El Anatsui, Flame of/in the Forest, 2012 Aluminium, copper wire 327 x 226 cmCourtesy Axel Vervoordt



Sarcophagus Fragment of a Head. Grey limestone, Egypt, Late Period, XXVIth - XXXIst Dynasty, 664 -332 B.C. 34 x 32 x 13 cm. Courtesy Axel Vervoordt.

Provenance: Private collection, The Netherlands, since 1970; Acquired from the Galerie Jacobsen in Copenhagen.


 BastetBronze, Egypt, Late Period, XXVIth Dynasty, 664 - 525 B.C. H: 15 cm. Courtesy Axel Vervoordt.

ProvenancePrivate collection Mr. & Mrs. Dodier, Avranches; Private collection Mennier, Paris, before 1970.

LiteratureLOFFET H., Le goût de l'Égypte. Voyageurs normands au pays des pharaons, catalogue of the exhibition in the Scriptorial d'Avranches, 2 April - 18 September 2016, p. 35, fig. 21.

Exhibited:  Le goût de l'Égypte. Voyageurs normands au pays des pharaons, 2 April - 18 September 2016, Scriptorial d'Avranches.



Ryuji Tanaka (1927-2014), Sei (6), 1962 Mineral pigment, canvas, mixed media 162 x 130,5 cmCourtesy Axel Vervoordt.

Ryuji Tanaka (1927-2014) was a member of the Pan-real Art Association and the Gutai Art Association, two avant-garde groups that were greatly significant to post-war Japanese art. Tanaka was one of the founders of the Pan-real Art Association, and he remained a member from 1948 until 1951. Pan-real was known for their urge to loosen the restrictions concerning the motifs and styles of nihon-ga - traditional Japanese painting - by actively introducing avant-garde elements found in yōga - Western-style painting - to the genre. Tanaka's works from this early period are figurative and influenced by Surrealism, while also revealing his preference for nihon-ga materials: natural pigments and minerals dissolved in animal glue. Interested in bending the rules of nihon-ga, Tanaka eventually only kept the traditional techniques and use of materials. This led him to establish a uniquely abstract style and new method of painting in the early 1960s. He piled up a thick heap of mineral pigments in the centre of his paintings, creating a large plane of colour. Ore is the main ingredient in these pigments, and as these tiny particles shine in the light, they create a hard, yet delicate and powdery texture. Lines overflow from the edges of the colour plane into the surrounding picture. The roughness of the pigments is bright against the dark background, providing his work with fantastical, mysterious qualities. Tanaka also added pebbles to expand the pigments, and rather than a brush, he used a feather, making the picture blurry and allowing the paint to stream. In 1965, Tanaka joined the Gutai Art Association, a group that radically followed founding member Jiro Yoshihara's credo: "Do what no one has done before!" Literally meaning "concrete", the word Gutai expressed the idea that art constitutes the material manifestation of human spiritual freedom. Tanaka left the group after two years to continue following his own path. From then on the artist adopted another style of expression. After thinly coating the entire surface with pigments, he added ambiguous forms and applied minuscule scratches. While in the 1960s Tanaka mainly used dark shades, his works from the 1980s and 1990s incorporated more colours, lending them a brighter quality. He also added glass powder to create white blurs. The expression of beauty, while exploring the properties of natural elements, remained at the heart of his practice.

Prvenance: Estate of the artist

Exhibitions: 2017: Ryuji Tanaka, Simon Lee Gallery, New York, USA (13.09 - 28.10.2017) 2016: Made in Japan, CC Strombeek, Belgium (07.10 - 08.11.2016) 2016: Ryuji Tanaka, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium (10.03 - 30.04.2016) 1963: Solo Exhibition at Takekawa Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (April 1963) 1962: Maruzen Petrochemical Art Encouragement Prize in the 37th year of Showa.


Jef Verheyen, L'Empire de la Lumière II, 1983 Matt lacquer on canvas, original painted frame 110 x 110 cm without frame. Courtesy Axel Vervoordt.

Jef Verheyen was a painter. His tool was the paintbrush, his material paint, his medium light, his inspiration the visible, and his chief precision instruments his eyes and mind […] Verheyen painted an essential distillation of his vision, a perfume of the visible, and his paintings offer their viewers possibilities of seeing something new, remembering things forgotten, and experiencing things they have never experienced before. (Dirk Pörschmann quoted in 'Beyond the Boundaries of Colour in the Realm of Boundless Being', in Jef Verheyen and Friends, exh. cat, Langen Foundation, Neuss (11/09/2010 - 16/01/2011), Brussels: ASA Publishers, 2010: p. 67.) Colours preside over Jef Verheyen's paintings. Colours represent the artist's interpretation of the world and the way we perceive nature and eternality. He believed our perception of the natural world has nothing to do with the factual depiction of natural landscape, and employed colour and light to transcend us beyond mere physical human experience. As the colours enwrap us we lose a sense of spatiality, and everything surrounding us becomes transparent. His work makes us experience light and dark, depth and surface, two dimensionality and non-dimensionality. For him looking was not the same as seeing. According to Verheyen seeing was "feeling with the eyes." Throughout his entire oeuvre, Verheyen explored and experimented with every aspect of the visible and invisible world by a simple act of painting. He never gave up on the traditional mediums such as canvas, paint, and brush to search for essence of the world. His goal to explore the theme of light through colours led him to create a painting without beginning or end. The pictorial language is deeply linked with how to use materials to achieve a state of trance. His ability to handle materiality of paint on his own way allows us to have mystical and spiritual experience when we confront the work. Verheyen adopted the old masterly technique of Flemish masters, especially Jan van Eyck and Johannes Vermeer, to perfect his picture plane. He successfully dematerializes paintings with extremely smooth surface and matte, intense colours. Once he prepared the canvas with glaze he took up a wide bristle brush to apply paint on the smoothened surface. Surface of the canvas becomes so even one cannot trace the borders between the colour spectrums. There is no hint of brush stroke or layers of gloss of traditional oil painting. In later years he combined geometric structure and diagonal lines to reveal universal interrelationships between human beings and the world around us. Recently Verheyen's painting has been re-examined in the history of art as an important part of the avant-garde group, ZERO, movement. The attempt to go beyond Tachism and Art Informal connected him immediately to the ZERO artists. He met Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, and Yves Klein in 1957 and this encounter resulted in a lifelong friendship and artistic collaboration with them. He collaborated with Lucio Fontana, Hermann Goepfert, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker among other ZERO artists. Verheyen participated in almost every ZERO exhibition connecting them with artists and collectors of the time in Belgium. Besides the ZERO group exhibitions, he continuously participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe. From 1947 to 1952 Verheyen studied at the Royal Academy and the Higher National Institute in Antwerp. He wrote a manifesto of Essentialism in 1958 and co-founded Nieuwe Vlaamse School (New Flemish School) in 1959. He was one of the two artists that participated in Venice Biennale and worked on the Belgian pavilion in 1970. Verheyen's work was included in the ZERO retrospective exhibition at Guggenheim, New York (Oct 2014 - Jan 2015). His work can be found in renowned public and private collections such as Centre Georges Pompidou, Lenz Schönberg Collection, RIRA Collection, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, and Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation to name a few. Decreasing light is increasing darkness. Increasing light is decreasing darkness. (Jef Verheyen in 1959) Verheyen is known as a painter of light and colour, but he was also inspired and guided by the principles of geometry, as explained in the publications of Matila Ghyka, Le nombre d'or and The Geometry of Art. Following Ghyka's theories about the golden mean and mathematical proportions, Verheyen wanted the paintings to emerge from the wall, like a window, and used different frames for every period. In the many sketches and studies Verheyen made for himself, one can notice the compositional principles behind his paintings. In the same way as he strove to transcend the materiality of colour and achieve effects beyond objective reality, he sought to use geometric structures to represent universally ordered connections. He used different kinds of structure to produce widely differing effects. In some works, he created harsh contrasts of shape and colour. In others, he integrated geometric shapes in such a sophisticated way that the viewer had to look twice in order to perceive them. Sometimes he divided the picture plane by a diagonal line leading from the corners to the interior space of the painting, or he integrated optical illusory geometric shapes. The combination of forms and colours created a suspenseful interplay, with the colours seeming to vibrate and sway back and forth. Selected Public Collections Belgium Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, Brussels Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (Bozar), Brussels Musée D'Ixelles, Brussels Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent Musée de l'Art Wallon/MAMAC, Liège Mu.ZEE, Ostend France Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Germany Museum Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkussen Stiftung museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf Josef Albers Museum Quadrat, Bottrop Ruhr-Universität (Sammlung Albert Schulze Verllinghausen), Bochum Switzerland Kunsthaus, Zürich Musée Rath, Geneva Kunstmuseum (A-M & V Loeb Stiftung), Bern Kunstmuseum, Sankt-Gallen Italy Biblioteca Nazionale, Milan Fondazione Boschi Di Stefano, Milan Poland Museum Sztuki, Lodz Brazil Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro Bibliography - Anon. author, Monographie für Jef Verheyen, Hanover, c. 1967. - Renate Wiehager (ed.), Zero und Paris 1960. Und Heute, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 1997. - Willy van den Bussche, Retrospectieve Jef Verheyen 1932 - 1984, exh. cat., Provinciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Ostend (26/03 - 13/06/1994), Oostkamp (Brugge): Stichting Kunstboek, 1994. - Freddy De Vree (ed.), Jef Verheyen. Lux est Lex, exh. cat., Axel Vervoordt Kanaal, Wijnegem (01/03 - 17/04/2004), Wijnegem: Vervoordt Foundation, 2004. - Tijs Visser and Dirk Pörschmann (eds.), Jef Verheyen. Le Peintre Flamant, exh. cat., Langen Foundation, Neuss (11/09/2010 - 16/01/2011), Brussels: ASA Publishers, 2010.

Provenance: Estate of the artist.

Exhibition: 2018: Ideale Ruimte, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Kanaal, Wijnegem, Belgium.

AXEL VERVOORDT, Stand C2 at Masterpiece London 2018 (28 June - 04 July 2018)