Piet Bekaert: His Life, Work and Quite Remarkable Legacy.
Piet Bekaert, Belgian Artist
Welcome to the world of Piet Bekaert!
A much loved Belgian artist, Piet (pronounced Peet) Bekaert has become known to many through his posters. His paintings are so multi-layered and luscious that they photograph beautifully and become beguiling posters. To see his work in person is electrifying!
I discovered him walking home one evening from a job on Wall Street. I was in my early 20's. The show would have been sometime between 1982 and 1984. The Vorpal Gallery was on my way. As I strode past the window I gazed in wonder. Stopped. Went back and gazed some more.
Over the next months, my fiancé and I would stop by often and just drown in the beautiful images. We couldn't afford them. They cost $2,500 each, mostly.
We even got invited to a show there at Vorpal...
Years later, when I had some money by me - and now it's 1999 - the paintings had become $30 - 60,000! Some even at $75,000. Oh, if only!
Nonetheless, by introducing his work to a few friends, I was able to cobble the commission together to afford not 1 but TWO extraordinary, lower priced pieces!!
The pride and delight... you have no idea!!
Piet Bekaert - today's finest contemporary impressionist!
Muldoon Elder is a poet, painter, filmmaker,art dealer and writer who lives in San Francisco.
His first museum purchase award was from the Long Beach Museum of Art in 1957. Since that time his paintings and drawings have been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries throughout the United States. He founded the Vorpal Gallery in 1962 and was primarily responsible for exposing to high acclaim many little-known artists including the Japanese mezzotint master, Yozo Hamaguchi and the Dutch graphic master, M.C.Escher.
His documentary films have garnered thirteen international movie awards including an Academy Award in 1969 for "Best Live-action Short" and First Place at The Cannes Film Festival in 1970 [The Magic Machines].
His Welsh-Irish heritage is to blame for his colorful use of words.
Piet Bekaert - about his paintings
"capricious bits of light"
Muldoon's quote of Bekaert on his interest when paintingIt is through his unique treatment of light that artist Piet Bekaert achieves his most remarkable images. His magnificent use of light produces paintings which are pristine, lush and mysterious. "Each object in the universe 'takes the light' in its own unique way. And it is that way in which each thing reflects light that transforms object into subject," asserts Bekaert.
Always fascinated with the "peculiar light of the veiled sun" of his native Belgium, Bekaert captures it in his paintings, transforming his subjects, investing them with significance far beyond their simplicity. Similarly, he uses the subdued mist to create enchanting paintings which are classically graceful and suffused with mystique, as well as a tough, artistic integrity. Bekaert is the recipient of the 1976 West Flanders Painting Award, as well as the 1967 Knokke Award.
Silent Conversation -- the one I own - -
Piet Bekaert - about himself
Born 1939, Vichte, Belgium.
He himself was a splendidly independent fellow! He had no interest in the family business - Belgian lace - though this background may well explain how it is that his paintings feature the most luminous table cloths and curtains of all time! Nor did he really want to be a painter. His dream? He wanted to direct! Doesn't everyone?
Born in Vichite, Belgium in 1939, Bekaert was taught classical technique at the Royal Academy in Ghent. He later studied in Paris, at the Acadamie Julien. Building on this solid foundation in the tradition of his Flemish ancestors, he then broadened his formal scope at the Pratt Institute in New York City. A trip to the Far East further rounded Bekaert's world view before he returned to his native Belgium to begin the career for which his education had prepared him.
Until his death, Bekaert was represented exclusively by the Vorpal Galleries in New York and San Francisco. The owner of Vorpal is the irrepressible Muldoon Elder, about whom you'll discover more later down the page. Whether Mulddon still owns the inventory or has had to sell it is unclear to me. However, I will be interviewing him shortly and look forward to finding out more then.
Bekaert enjoyed about 15 exhibitions at Vorpal, in both New York City and San Franscisco, as well as many others in Germany, Belgium Holland and Paris. His preponderant commercial market is in the US.
He died on July 7 2000, Sint Maarten Latem. Apparently. My appraiser has him dying in 2001.
Piet Bekaert: 'Dining Table in Early Summer Light'
I've seen this one in the flesh - it's breathtaking!!
I took a guy I was dating once to see the paintings at Vorpal's storage room, before it was disbanded forever... as result of Muldoon's divorce, if I understand correctly. He bought 3 paintings -- this being the one I wanted in the worst way.
I had had a framed poster of it, and given it to Mark Jacoby's wife for her voice studio. I never imagined I would see it live.
That's how Bekaert's paintings are - live. Alive. Quite extraordinary! The layers, the way the light changes them...you have to see one, if you can.
What is Impressionism -- when it comes to art ---
It's supposed to represent a "fleeting glance" as if you'd just glimpsed the vista on your way to somewhere else. I think it came about before photography had arrived, or maybe it was all coming together at the same time.
It's interesting how often that happens - there's a global consciousness and then suddenly we have photography capturing a moment in time, and impressionism giving you the artist's method of recording a glimpse or a glance.
Hang a 'Piet Bekaert' in your own home!
This particularly romantic notion of breakfast on the edge of the ocean is luscious in print and in real life. The original hangs in Summit, NJ...and at least one copy in Maplewood. Why not add your own?
What's Your View?
How does art get valued?
Do you have to have heard of the artist to make the painting valuable?
Piet Bekaert is a Famous Belgian - see others!
Belgium has produced many famous figures in the arts. In the 15th century, one of the great periods of European painting culminated in the work of Jan van Eyck (1390?-1441) and Hans Memling (1430?-94). They were followed by Hugo van der Goes (1440?-82), and Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525?-69), the ancestor of a long line of painters. Generally considered the greatest of Flemish painters are Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). In the 19th century, Henri Evenepoel (1872-99) continued this tradition. The 20th century boasts such names as James Ensor (1860-1949), Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), and RenÃ© Magritte (1898-1967). Modern Belgian architecture was represented by Victor Horta (1861-1947) and Henry van de Velde (1863-1957).
Belgium made substantial contributions to the development of music through the works of such outstanding 15th- and 16th-century composers as Johannes Ockeghem (1430?-95), Josquin des PrÃ©s (1450?-1521), Heinrich Isaac (1450?-1517), Adrian Willaert (1480?-1562), Nicolas Gombert (1490?-1556), Cipriano de Rore (1516-65), Philippe de Monte (1521-1603), and Roland de Lassus (known originally as Roland de Latre and later called Orlando di Lasso, 1532-94), the "Prince of Music." Later Belgian composers of renown include FranÃ§ois-Joseph Gossec (1734-1829), Peter Van Maldere (1729-68), AndrÃ© Ernest Modeste GrÃ©try (1741-1813), CÃ©sar Franck (1822-90), and Joseph Jongen (1873-1953). Among famous interpreters are the violinists EugÃ¨ne Ysaye (1858-1931) and Arthur Grumiaux (1921-86). AndrÃ© Cluytens (1905-67) was the conductor of the National Orchestra of Belgium. Maurice BÃ©jart (Maurice Berger, b.1927), an internationally famous choreographer, was the director of the Ballet of the 20th Century from 1959 until 1999.
Outstanding Belgian names in French historical literature are Jean Froissart (1333?-1405?) and Philippe de Commynes (1447?-1511?), whereas early Dutch literature boasts the mystical writing of Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381). The 19th century was marked by such important writers as Charles de Coster (1827-79), Camille Lemonnier (1844-1913), Georges Eeckhoud (1854-1927), and Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916) in French; and by Hendrik Conscience (1812-83) and Guido Gezelle (1830-99) in Flemish. Among contemporary authors writing in French, Michel de Ghelderode (1898-1962), Suzanne Lilar (1901-1992), Georges Simenon (1903-1989), and FranÃ§oise Mallet-Joris (b.1930) have been translated into English. Translations of Belgian authors writing in Dutch include works by Johan Daisne (1912-78) and Hugo Claus (b.1929).
Eight Belgians have won the Nobel Prize in various fields. The poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949), whose symbolist dramas have been performed in many countries, received the prize for literature in 1911. Jules Bordet (1870-1961) received the physiology or medicine award in 1919 for his contributions to immunology. The same award went to Corneille J. F. Heymans (1892-1968) in 1938 and was shared by Albert Claude (1898-1983) and Christian de Duve (b.1917) in 1974. Russian-born Ilya Prigogine (b.1917) won the chemistry prize in 1977. Three Belgians have won the Nobel Peace Prize: Auguste Beernaert (1829-1912) in 1909, Henri Lafontaine (1854-1943) in 1913, and Father Dominique Pire (1910-69) in 1958.
Belgium's chief of state since 1951 had been King Baudouin I (1930-93), the son of Leopold III (1901-83), who reigned from 1934 until his abdication in 1951.
Another Piet Bekaert lustrous print you can own!
'Luncheon with the Princess of Spring'
Is there a more majestic description for a season so consistently longed for?
A corner of my Dining Room
'Plants Against 2 Windows', Piet Bekaert framed print
Simply a moment of sunlight frozen in time - its warmth preserved as nourishment to hang on a wall for those moments when a glance is just enough to ease ...
Thank you to Dennis Wepman for his brochure!
That show I attended back in 1984 had a glorious brochure which I still have today. It would be quite wrong of my NOT to thank its author, Mr. Dennis Wepman for that piece and its ensuing contribution to this lens. His research and interpretation of Bekaert's painting was printed on the inside, back cover of the catalog, and has long inspired my admiration of Bekaert's remarkable talent.
D'you own a Bekaert print, poster or original? I'd love to see a photo of it. His paintings are the most luminous pieces that have haunted my entire adult life!
Please share - what do you all think about his work?