Crab & Lemons
20th-century Belgian school oil painting on a wooden panel signed in the lower left "Alfred Bastien" for Alfred Théodore Joseph Bastien (1873-1955). The work has a little texture to the touch.
An Impressionist-inspired artwork displays a crab and lemons in a still life arrangement. The artist skillfully uses a knife to create relief effects in specific areas, resulting in a textured appearance without excessive materials. These various textures and lines bring about a sense of movement, almost making the crab's shell and the lemons feel tangible and solid. The vibrant and lively color palette further enhances this effect, mirroring the subject matter.
Alfred Bastien's work goes beyond its aesthetic exploration, potentially evoking the darker periods of his life and the contemporary world. The crab can symbolize spiritual rebirth, leading to happiness, while the lemon, a powerful and healing fruit with a fragrant aroma, represents hope.
About the artist:
Alfred Théodore Joseph Bastien, a Belgian painter, was born on September 12, 1873, in Ixelles, a district in Brussels. He passed away on June 7, 1955, in Uccle, near Brussels.
Bastien received his artistic education at both the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. He also pursued artistic studies in Paris, focusing on the works of Courbet and Delacroix.
Throughout his life, Bastien was a passionate traveler, exploring various countries in Europe, as well as North Africa in 1897 and the Belgian Congo in 1913. He also ventured to India, Japan, China, and the South Pacific islands. During this period, Bastien was a member of Labeur, a Brussels-based association of Belgian artists active from 1898 to 1907.
In 1911, upon King Albert's request, the Belgian government commissioned Alfred Bastien and his friend Paul Mathieu to create the Panorama of the Congo, a monumental painting intended to adorn the Belgian Congo Palace at the Universal Exhibition in Ghent in 1913. Their work took them on a four-month journey through the lush landscapes of the Congo, from Matadi to Kinshasa, utilizing various modes of transportation.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Bastien sought refuge in England before enlisting as a war volunteer in 1915. He was integrated into the artistic section of the Belgian army, and this resulted in him having frequent contact with King Albert of Belgium, Duke of Saxony, and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Consort of the Belgians and Duchess of Bavaria. During this time, he also became the personal painter and friend of their sons, Prince Charles of Belgium, Count of Flanders.
In 1917, Bastien joined the 22nd Battalion of the Canadian Army. During his time there, he painted artworks showing the battles that Canadian troops were involved in near Arras and Passendale. Today, some of his important paintings are in the Beaverbrook Military Art Collection at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
Bastien's contributions extended beyond his artistic endeavors. He served as a professor of painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels from 1927 to 1945, where he also held the position of director. In 1952, he was honored with membership in the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Fine Arts of Belgium.
Bastien's artistic style was influenced by the Impressionists, who focused on capturing the effects of light. His works are recognized for their subtle luminosity, a defining aspect seen in his watercolor paintings of landscapes, still life, and portraits.
His legacy endures in various Belgian and European fine arts museums and the British Museum in London.
- Overall size: 21.2" x 28.3" / 54.5cm x 72cm.
- Size without the frame: 14.9" x 21.6" / 38cm x 55.5cm.
- Country: Belgium.
- Signed: Alfred Bastien (1873-1955).
- Date: Early 20th century.
- Condition: The panel is in good condition despite some traces and small dark spots present mainly on the left. The frame bears traces of restoration, as on the lower central exterior molding and the left center molding.
- Materials: Oil on wood panel with a wood and stucco frame.
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