Mixed media of oil and sand on paper by René Guiette – Abstract calligraphy, 1965

Original artwork by René Guiette – Abstract calligraphy, 1965

Mixed media of oil paint and sand on paper signed and dated on the lower right.

Dimensions: 73 x 44 cm.

Literature – Reference: catalog raisonné by Mrs Manuela de Kerchove d’Ousselghem

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René GUIETTE (1893 – 1976)

René Émile Étienne Albert Louis Guiette said René Guiette, is born on October 13, 1893 in Antwerp and died October 19, 1976 in Wilrijk. He is a Belgian painter and draftsman, flirting and mastering the audacity of the avant-garde, an all-out modernist, who is also an art critic.

René Guiette is the son of Jules Guiette, painter, pastellist, watercolourist and etcher of the luminist movement and is the brother of Robert, philologist, who was elected to the Royal Academy of French Language and Literature of Belgium where he occupied the second armchair from 1954 to 1976.

René Guiette pursues university studies. He is in principle self-taught, but introduced to painting by his father and he devotes himself to this art from 1919 on. Then he studies esotericism and Eastern philosophies in which he is deeply interested. He stays in Paris and becomes a friend of Blaise Cendrars and Max Jacob, multiplying until 1970 his relations within the literary, philosophical and artistic worlds from which he drew his inspiration.

In 1925, Le Corbusier drew up the plans for a residence for the artist, La maison Guiette, built in Antwerp in 1926 by the Antwerp architect Paul Smekens, the project manager. This house-workshop was classified as a Historic Monument in 1978, located at 32 avenue des Peupliers, it is the only building by Le Corbusier in Belgium and is the subject of a request for classification as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

In 1928, the young artist – then an expressionist – was taken on under contract at the Galerie du Centaure. He illustrates poets and defends Flemish expressionism through articles in the magazine Sélection.

From 1932, Guiette also turned to photography and produced several reports, then finally, from 1946, he held a position as photography professor at the École Supérieure de la Cambre in Brussels. There he will also teach the interactions and the harmony of colors.

Shortly before the Second World War, he worked as a dilettante as an oenologist and wine merchant while he painted a fresco in the house of the architect Léon Stynen.

In 1948, following his new aesthetic orientation, he became a member of the Compagnie de l’art brut created by Jean Dubuffet. Furthermore, starting that year, Guiette is also publishing articles on art in the Antwerp daily papers Le Matin and La Métropole, under the ‘pseudonym’ of Blaise Distel.

In 1951, the Parisian art critic Michel Tapié defended the painter and encouraged his artistic approach. In the meantime the artist is invited to numerous international exhibitions. In 1955, he was part of the team of painters defended by Paris and by the Stadler gallery where he met Tapiès, Tobey, Sam Francis and Mathieu.

Known for his paintings in oil and sand on paper and mixed media techniques, René Guiette will have experimented and passed through, during his career, from expressionism to cubism, then towards a figuration close to the post-cubism of Picasso, to also integrate l’art brut and then finally from 1955 on, he is influenced by Zen philosophy, were his painting will evolve towards a transcendent calligraphy. His works are loaded with graffiti, or contain refined signs that invite contemplation.

In 1975, already sick to his stomach, he received the Quinquennal Prize for Painting, a tribute from the Belgian State to his fruitful career.

On October 19, 1976, ten days before his wife, René Guiette died in an Antwerp clinic.

#biography sources Wikipedia – Mrs Manuela de Kerchove d’Ousselghem – Y. Ysebaert #curator for Ysebaert Louisseize Arts


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