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Light

Jules Schmalzigaug
  • Object number 2100
  • Date (1915 - 1916)
  • Dimensions 98 × 127 cm
  • Medium Oil on canvas
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Schilderij Rhytmus van lichtgolvingen. Straat, zon en menigte van Jules Schmalzigaug

Rhythm of light waves

Light is a fascinating combination of light, colour and vibration. Nervous, repeating strokes in a rotating movement dominate this painting, creating a space at the centre. The fields and dots of colour indicate the direction. The lines move upwards. The rounded corners and the abundance of warm and bright tones generate a sense of vibrancy.

Representation of movement and atmosphere

Light, colour and form: these were the elements Jules Schmalzigaug applied to create movement and energy in his paintings. Representing a state of mind or an atmosphere intrigued the painter too. He used a vibrant palette of colour and form to create Light. It is an abstract composition – an interplay of lines and fields of colour – far removed from reality.

Schmalzigaug: from light to colour

How do you transpose light into colours on a canvas? That was the question that occupied Jules Schmalzigaug. He studied it thoroughly and went in search of colours that give off and absorb light. His notes deal with direct and indirect lighting and its influence on colour. Schmalzigaug used shutters, sheets and mirrors to create a softer, more refined light. His earlier paintings were heavy and bombastic. Thanks to his experiments, they became lighter in composition, despite the more intense touches of colour.

Influence of the Futurists

In 1909, Filippo Marinetti published the Manifesto of Futurism. The Italian movement’s founder held out the prospect of an art geared entirely to the future. Futurism was more than an artistic movement: its influence extended to every aspect of life. Schmalzigaug wanted to be part of that. He set great store by innovation and originality. Influenced by Marinetti and the Futurists, he rejected perspective and applied different elements in layers, on top of each other.

Schmalzigaug’s colour theory

Jules Schmalzigaug’s own colour theory began to take shape in 1914. He no longer used colour as a means of suggesting form. He wanted to ‘liberate’ colour from form and light. Colour became a thing in its own right. Schmalzigaug was convinced, for instance, that there was a future in ‘colour music’. Like a music concert, where you go to listen to the harmonic interplay of musical instruments.

Schmalzigaug: La Panchromie

Schmalzigaug even wrote a manifesto about it: La Panchromie. In 12 concise chapters, he set out his ideas on colour and light as means of constructing a balanced composition. ‘In this polychrome orgy, in this cacophony of the improbable colours, it seems to me that I can make out a certain order, something like a colour theory. I open my eyes wide – I let myself be carried along by the many sensations that assail my vision, I live in the middle of a prism.’ Schmalzigaug took his own life in 1917. He left behind a limited oeuvre: watercolours, drawings and some 30 oil paintings.

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