Rhythm of Light Waves. Street, Sunshine and Crowd


Jules Schmalzigaug
Antwerp 1886 - Delft 1917
oil on canvas
98 x 127 cm
Inventory number 2100

In the early 20th century, the urban public space was radically altered by a succession of technical innovations: cars, tramways, telephones, etc. With the onset of late modernity, a group of Italian visual artists and writers developed a style that tried to capture the sense of movement and progress of a future-oriented society. At the age of 26, Jules Schmalzigaug paid a visit to an exhibition in Paris, where he was first introduced to the Futurist work of these Italian artists. After a subsequent trip to Italy, Schmalzigaug moved to Venice and became the only Belgian exponent of the Futurist movement. He rejected the notion of perspective and developed a style whereby different elements were placed alongside and on top of each other, in overlapping planes. In Rhythm of Light Waves. Street, Sunshine and Crowd, which he painted in 1914, different atmospheric sketches are combined into a rotating movement, creating a central space in the composition. The fields and dots of colour are directional. The lines create a sense of upward movement and buoyancy. The rounded corners and the broad palette of warm and bright hues add to the vibrancy of the composition.

Small oeuvre

Although his work exudes a sense of optimism and vitality, Schmalzigaug suffered from depression. He took his own life in 1917, leaving behind a small oeuvre of watercolours, drawings, and thirty or so oil paintings. His heirs donated seven of his works to KMSKA.

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