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Léon Spilliaert (1881 - 1946)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Belgium symbolist painter and graphic artist. Watercolourist, pastellist, painter (gouache), draughtsman. Portraits, genre scenes, still-lifes, landscapes, seascapes.

From childhood he displayed an interest in art and drawing and was a prolific doodler, spending much time sketching scenes of ordinary life and the Belgium countryside. In 1889 he studied briefly at the Terenacademie in Bruges. His early work, already Symbolist in style was informed by his readings of writers such as Friedrich Nietzsche Maurice Maeterlinck . From February 1903 to January 1904 he worked for Edmond Deman in Brussels, a publisher of symbolist writers, whose work Spilliaert was to illustrate. In 1904 Spilliaert stayed in Paris, where he was on the fringe of Picasso’s circle and discovered the work of Munch and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose influences he acknowledged. He continued to spend most winters in Paris to keep in touch with the city’s cultural life.


Born: 28 July 1881 in Ostend

Died: 23 November 1946

Gender: Male

Works by Léon Spilliaert in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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Associated archives

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