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Bram VAN VELDE

(1895 - 1981)


The original painting of Bram van Velde was surrounded by the neo-primitivist, expressionist processes of NKVM and Blue Rider. In the first figurative beginnings of the 1920s, he proposed simplified firms, particularly human figures that are as if seen through the prism of African sculpture and the juxtaposition of built sections of pure colour separated with a white grid, sometimes encircled with black. On the other hand, the painting promoted a Fauvist distribution of colour that lit up and modelled the faces of the figures in green and pink. Between 1936 and 1941, after a four-year stay in Mallorca and a return to Paris, the subject had either disappeared or was concealed. The face is like a triangle, the eye has become a circle, and the body is disarticulated into a group of coloured fragments. Bram van Velde went into painting as one gets into a religion, so as with the movement, size and flexibility of his composition to celebrate a form of joy at heart from which derives anxiety about the fragile construction of the picture and possible failure, in spite of his always flamboyant character. Indeed, Bram van Velde says that he moves between the awareness of life and of death, between the two dynamics that seemingly pull life in two directions. He also says: “I feel connected to life. To the immeasurability and complexity of life. Every canvas is a stimulus for life.” He also says: “Now pain is the only source”. In 1938 he met Samuel Beckett, who four years later helped him in the terrible war years. Between 1941 and 1945, Bram van Velde did not paint, and lived in indigence. Pierre Loeb presented him in 1945, and Aimé Maeght exhibited his works from 1947 on. Their collaboration started with a fiveyear contract that enabled the artist to stand on his feet after the destruction of the war. In the painting of Bram van Velde, form is exalted, while material has the tendency to fall, to the edge of collapse. The loneliness of the artist is first recognised by poets; producing little, he is constantly in search. He attempts to achieve a true and genuine expression the infinite space of the interior; he flirts with the absolute: absolute painting, the open window onto “himself” outstripped by immensity: “Often I was on the edge of a breakdown.” No work demands more understanding than that of Bram van Velde, without searching for any connection with reality, or with history either. It demands a relinquishment of knowledge already acquired. It has its own poetry and it is driven by a flamboyant rhythm, anchored in the depth of the painting, which addresses directly him who is unconscious of what the spirit moves.

Bram Van Velde
Bram Van Velde, années 60

La Fondation conserve plusieurs peintures et lithographies de l'artiste dans ses collections.