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Rob Houpels

Belgian Artist (1877-1943)

Reflections' dated 1910
Oil on canvas

25.5 x 29.5 in.

 Early on in his artistic career, Houpels was subjugated by the boldness of the French fauve painters, in particular Derain, Matisse and Vlaminck.  He created a palette of vibrant, highly contrasted colors that he applied in short, circular brushstrokes, creating a rhythmic intensity in his compositions.  The French post-impressionist movement was stylistically very present in Houpels’ mind as well, with its use of gestural brushwork and juxtaposition of tonalities that heighten the emotional intensity of the pictorial surface. Houpels’ paintings from this period are radiant, revealing an artist who succeeded in dematerializing space, breaking down figure and form and gradually moving towards abstraction.

Houpels moved back to a more painterly, representational style after 1920.  His palette became more subdued, and subject matter more traditional, as he added more weight and mass to his compositions.  

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