Reproduction British 20th century Artist’s stepped frame with off-white painted finish
Weissbort’s landscapes lovingly document the fields, downs and villages of his adoptive country, but range equally through Europe (Austria, France, Belgium) and beyond. The present painting is a townscape: a tumbling fall of tiled and slate roofs in Ostend, the repeated and opposed oblongs and rhombuses creating an almost abstract pattern across the canvas. This type of view has fascinated many artists, including Cézanne (The rooftops of l’Estaque, The sea at l’Estaque), Gauguin (The blue roofs of Rouen), James Ensor (Rooftops of Ostend) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Slate roofs of Fetges, La ville). Most of the latter have set their particular arrangements of roofs within the landscape they inhabit, whereas Weissbort’s roofs fill the canvas, apart from the furthest horizon, giving Ostend almost the scale and panorama of a city. Here it is closest to Ensor’s Rooftops of Ostend. The colouring is also unexpected, the whites, greens and sunny terracottas looking away from northern landscapes to the Mediterranean – perhaps specifically to Florence – in a way which Ensor does not achieve, in spite of his saturated hues. In this context, the large tower or chimney in the background carries resonances of the campanile of the Duomo, linking it to an idea of the Renaissance, at the same time that it is stylistically clearly related to Cézanne’s depictions of the little Mediterranean towns and villages around Aix-en-Provence.