When the Ploeg Pavilion was officially opened in 2001, the Groninger Museum assumed the responsibility not only to realize exhibitions centred on the De Ploeg artists' association, but also to devote attention to international Expressionist movements. In doing so, the Museum could display the context in which the Expressionism of De Ploeg could arise. In the Flemish Expressionism exhibition, which will be presented in the Groningen Museum next summer, attention is drawn for the first time to a group of Expressionists outside the Netherlands.
To a certain extent, Flemish Expressionism had its roots in the Netherlands, where artists such as Frits van den Berghe and Gustave de Smet stayed in the period 1914-1918. Under the influence of Expressionism, particularly as articulated in the Province of Noord-Holland, their way of working underwent a significant change. On their return to Belgium, their style subsequently acquired a distinct character, which eventually became known as Flemish Expressionism.
The exhibition in the Groninger Museum will present important paintings by Frits van den Berghe, Gustave de Smet and Constant Permeke, among others. The exhibition illustrates the way in which Expressionists in Flanders elaborated themes such as the countryside and village life in a completely different manner than their colleagues from De Ploeg. Nevertheless, their specific approach, which forms the basis of their primitive landscapes, does indicate a kindred spirit.
This exhibition was jointly compiled by director Robert Hoozee and academic specialist Helke Lauwert of the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Art) in Gent. The works on loan have come from Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Gent, the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, and the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Museum of Fine Art) in Antwerp. A Dutch-language catalogue containing four short essays and colour photographs of the works will be published to accompany the exhibition.