From 10 March to 7 June 2020, Museum Helmond will present the first major retrospective of this sixteenth-century master of landscape painting. Works on loan from around the world, including Belgium, Germany, Mexico, and the USA will be brought together for the first time.
We know little about the life of Lucas Gassel. His father was a painter in Helmond. It has been assumed that Lucas left for Antwerp at the turn of the sixteenth century. At that time, Antwerp was an important city for the arts in the south of the Duchy of Brabant, of which Helmond was also part. Lucas later moved to Brussels, where he remained until his death according to Van Mander. He was posthumously included in prominent art historical sources as an important painter of his time.
Yet, in the sixteenth century Lucas Gassel (ca. 1488 -1568/69) was a successful painter and artist. He is one of only a handful of artists whose names we know as early practitioners of the landscape genre, together with Joachim Patinir (ca. 1480-1524) and Herri met de Bles (ca. 1510-ca-15510). Gassel’s oeuvre consists of panel paintings, drawings and prints made after his design. They show compositions in a landscape format, with sweeping mountainous landscapes in the background and in the foreground mostly biblical subjects. A small group of his works is signed with his monogram and dated (with dates from 1538 to 1568).
Development of the landscape
The exhibition will introduce visitors to a sixteenth-century artist who may be largely unknown today. By showing his best works, it aims to put his masterful landscapes and other original compositions centre stage and highlight the important contribution he made to the development of Netherlandish (landscape) painting. Works by his contemporaries will place Gassel’s oeuvre in its artistic, religious, and political context.
For three months, Lucas Gassel’s core oeuvre will be brought together, from all over the world. This has never been done before. For this occasion, many international loans will be travelling to Helmond. Lenders include renowned European and North-American museums of Old Masters: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Narodní Galerie, Prague; Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Royal Library of Belgium, Brussels; Musée du Louvre, Paris; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht and Museo Soumaya, Mexico City. Also on display will be works from private collections from the Netherlands and abroad.
This monographic exhibition project has also provided the opportunity to conduct new research. By focusing on the works of art themselves, the limited knowledge about his oeuvre will be enhanced. The preliminary results of the technical examination of a few of his paintings will provide a starting point to integrate further results of technical research into the art historical study of his oeuvre.
The exhibition, which will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, has been made possible thanks to the support of several sponsors, including Gemeente Helmond; Brabant C, the Turing Foundation; Vereniging Rembrandt, Zabawas. VSB-fonds, Mondriaanfonds, Fonds 21, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
Also see the official exhibition website: lucasgassel.museumhelmond.nl