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Georges Lemmen

 

Georges Lemmen (1865–1916) had broad influence over the art world in his home country Belgium as an exponent of landscapes embodying Neo-Impressionist ideas about colour. He was a member of the Les XX group and was a versatile artist in the spirit of the day, producing book illustrations, posters, textiles and ceramics.

Lemmen was born into an architect’s family in Schaerbeek near Brussels, Belgium. He initially studied drawing at the Sint-Joost-ten-Node Academy, but soon tired of the academic approach there and sought inspiration in contemporary art. He became a friend of Georges Seurat and was also influenced by the work of Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. After he joined the avantgarde Les XX group in 1888 his own output began to be Neo- Impressionist in approach and he began to paint landscapes and portraits using the technique. In these works the crucial thing was to express the power of light while also producing a clear and harmonious whole. Lemmen’s works were shown not only in Les XX exhibitions in Brussels but also at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris.

The death of Georges Seurat in 1891 had a strong impact on Lemmen, as it did on other Neo-Impressionists. From 1895 onwards he began to move away from the approach and to aim more at traditional Impressionism. In his still lifes, portraits and nudes especially, his approach is intimate and reminiscent of works by Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard. At this period he also became interested in Art Nouveau and expanded his range to illustration in periodicals and ceramics. He also wrote for the journal L’Art moderne. In 1915 Lemmen moved to Ukkel, where he died the following year.