The Stroll


Roger Raveel
Machelen-aan-de-Leie 1921
oil on canvas, oil on panel, mixed techniques
202.5 x 299 x 9 cm
Inventory number 3159

Like many Belgian artists who grew up during the war, Roger Raveel pondered the role of painting in this world. He started out around in his native Machelen, a village on the river Lys, where all was familiar and altogether ordinary. But even a village will eventually be affected by modernity, albeit in an entirely different way than the big city. It is this feeling that Raveel wanted to express, without nostalgia or even sentiment.
A cat steps onto a red spot encircled with black. A green dotted line stops abruptly at a brook. A man with a mosaic head looks out over the landscape. The viewer sees what he sees, and perhaps more. The Stroll is full of pictorial contradictions. It is at once a painting incorporating a variety of effects and a drawing emphasising the interplay between lines and white areas. The wooden beam in the left foreground adds a three-dimensional touch to the composition. The scattered realistic elements are also reminiscent of an assemblage.


This work shows how Raveel treats elements of rural life differently than his predecessors did. They used to create what they regarded as finished, autonomous works of art, while Raveel’s universe is never a finished product. He never offers the viewers an overall picture, but rather invites them to adopt a position and to fill in the lacunas.

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