This website received the AnySurfer label, a quality mark for accessible websites in Belgium.

For more information, please visit www.anysurfer.be.

Maria Sèthe, afterwards Mrs. Henry Van de Velde

print

Theo Van Rysselberghe
Ghent 1862 - Saint-Clair 1926
1891
oil on canvas
118 x 84.5 cm
Inventory number 2690

A young woman stares dreamily into the distance. Her expression exudes a sense of determination, calm and self-confidence. Her smile suggests that she is thinking about something pleasant. Her blond pinned-up hair, her delicate face and elegant neck radiate an ivory glow. Like the curtain in the background, her dress is purple, a symbol of material wealth. The Ghent-born artist Theo Van Rysselberghe represented Maria Sèthe, the wife-to-be of fellow-painter, designer and architect Henry Van de Velde, in a setting that is luxurious, but not gaudy. Sèthe is seated at a harmonium, but she is not playing. Sticking out from behind the instrument is the neck of a cello. The painting in the top of the picture contains the artist's signature and the date of the portrait.

Dotted

Being a Belgian artist, Van Rysselberghe was quite familiar with the great Flemish tradition of portraiture. On the other hand, he took into account the artistic tastes of the 19th-century bourgeoisie. In 1886, Van Rysselberghe discovered the work of the French artist George Seurat at the Impressionist exhibition in Paris, and he promptly began experimenting with Neo-Impressionist techniques. He applied Seurat's pointillism in masterly fashion in his portraits, using tiny dots for expressive elements such as hands and face, and larger dots for other areas.

Go back to the overview

share

Museum offices

Lange Kievitstraat 111-113 bus 100, B-2018 Antwerpen

T +32 (0)3 224 95 50