Léon De Smet
"Dorp bij valavond, 1935"
LÉON DE SMET
Gent 1881-1966 Deurle
VILLAGE AT VALLEY
Oil on canvas
68 x 59 cm.
Signed: lower left 'Leon De Smet'
Provenance: Private collection, The Netherlands.
Literature: Boyens, P., Bosschaert, H. Léon De Smet. Lannoo nv, Tielt 1994. Pag. 201.
The Village at nightfall that De Smet made in 1935, has less simplified forms but still an expressive working force. The village scene was a favorite subject for him during this period. He often returned it to a performance with only one or a few elements, such as the farm and some surrounding trees. The work can be seen as a transitional work from his expressive, more simplified work, back to the more impressionistic painterly style that De Smet felt most comfortable with. Although the colors in the twilight are subdued and almost gloomy and the performance even simplified - pay attention to the representation of the trees, which even reminds one of Van Gogh's work - his impressionism penetrated this painting. He had found the loose form with his short brushstroke: a big difference with the broad, strong surfaces of the Landscape with the setting sun. Where De Smet painted man in his former impressionist and sun-drenched landscapes, or at least the presence of man (in the early Leie landscape there are a few small boats to discover), these later landscapes lack any human trace. Still, the landscapes did not leave, but rather still: the optimism of the artist was also present in these landscapes. The striking colors that De Smet used, such as the fresh green, the powerful red-orange hues and the dominant yellow of the sun, contribute to a large extent to this friendly character.