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signed and dated upper right Jespers
Floris Jespers was the son of the sculptor Emile Jespers (1862-1918). His brother Oscar (1887-1970) became a sculptor too. He was a pupil of Frans Courtens at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Superio Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Until 1916 Floris Jepsers painted landscapes and views of the river Schelde in a post-impressionist style. Not yet the famous artist he later became, Jespers had to survive by playing cello in music-halls. Suddenly destroying these former works of his youth he evolved towards expressionism under the influence of the Flemish poet Paul Van Ostayen. Together with his brother Oscar Jespers, Paul Joostens, Edmond Van Dooren, Jos Leonard and others they formed an avant-garde movement in Antwerp. Regularly exhibiting with the Antwerp association Kunst van Heden - L'Art Contemporain, a member of the Brussels groups Les Neuf and Sélection around the art dealer Paul Gustave Van Hecke and the art critic André De Ridder, Floris Jespers made his name as one of the most interesting young artists. Jespers' oeuvre also was promoted by the Gallery Le Centaure and the Galerie Georges Giroux in Brussels. As a result every important exhibition and publication of modern art in Belgium includes work by his hand.
In 1919 and 1920 Floris Jespers made a series of figure and still-life paintings under the influence of cubism. He was befriended with Jean Metzinger. Around 1925 Jespers started painting dramatic expressionist works often with an ironical and satirical vision on life. In the thirties he adopted a more refined palette and a spiritualised vision. In these works he keeps the same simplicity as before but tries to achieve a deeper consciousness by different form and colour.
Working in and around the city of Antwerp Floris Jespers travelled in 1928 and 1930 for a few weeks to Normandie and Bretagne. From 1924 he regularly stayed in the town of Knokke at the Belgian coast. At first he enjoyed the hospitality of the physician Reimond De Beir who lived in a splendid modernist house by the hand of Huib Hoste, where artists like Isidore Boerewaard, Constant Permeke and Albert Servaes where regular guests. In 1935 Jespers had himself build a summer house in Knokke, which he kept until 1952. From the end of the thirties until 1945 he stayed for longer periods in the villages of Han, Our and Suxy in the Ardennes-region. In Knokke he painted the Flemish country-side, still-lifes and some remarkable studies of trees and paintings of animals. In the Ardennes-region farmhouses, landscapes and farmers where his favourite subject. Jespers returned to Knokke in 1946 and strived for more intensity of form and colour in some dramatic works. His landscapes of this period show again a constructivist influence.
Jespers paintings from the 1950's are dominated by his African works with their rich palette of bleu, green, red and brown colours. One of his favourite African themes were women on their way to the market. From 1951 until 1960 he made three long trips to Kamina in the Katanga-province in Kongo, where his son Marc worked as a doctor. The last five years of his life Jespers stayed principally in the village of Our only making a trip to Spain.
Floris Jespers was active as a painter, draughtsman and an engraver. He made etchings, wood-cuts, linoleum cuts and about fifty monotypes. A certain number of glass paintings - so-called églomisés - by his hand are listed. He also made a few designs for tapestries, decors and costumes for plays. Especially in the 1950's he made some sculptures. He participated on the World Exhibitions of Brussels in 1935 and 1958, Paris in 1937 and New York of 1938. Floris Jespers's work often was shown on official exhibitions of Belgian Art, on the 1952 Venice Biennial and important retrospective exhibitions were organised from 1944 to this day. Floris Jespers was a Grand-Officer in the Order of Leopold, a Knight in the French Légion d'honneur and a member of the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten.
|Height||43.00 cm||(16.93 inches)|
|Width||73.00 cm||(28.74 inches)|