Brussels, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique)
Paris, Musée d’Orsay
Dr. Anne Adriaens-Pannier, curator, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique
Marie-Pierre Salé, curator, Musée d’Orsay
From the museum website
Spilliaert was the man of disturbing solitudes, hallucinated faces, infinite perspectives and enigmatic silhouettes. The originality of this interpretation already dominated the dark washes of his early years through which he indulged in intensive introspection resulting in his famous self-portraits as a visionary. He had affinities with his contemporaries in both painting and literature: Emile Verhaeren, Maurice Maeterlinck, Odilon Redon, Edouard Vuillard, James Ensor… Nevertheless, if he was influenced by the fin-de siècle spirit, his work would develop well beyond Symbolism.
Throughout his career, Léon Spilliaert surprised and perplexed the public, inventing a symbolism of inner darkness that left its mark in Belgian art of the first half of the 20th century.