The Easel

Archives: Cath Pound

24th March 2020

How Léon Spilliaert’s dark paintings are strangely uplifting

Léon Spilliaert is overshadowed by his Belgian compatriot James Ensor. Should he be? His early career yielded lonely self-portraits and nuanced seascapes. Then came a happy marriage and, it seems, fewer artistic fireworks. “Enigmatic works [that] inhabit a twilight netherworld between reality and dream” says this writer. Another is unconvinced: “an uneven, repetitious and limited artist”