During the time between the wars, Floris Jespers is reckoned with the modernistic painting in Belgium. During and shortly after World War I, he belongs, along with his brother and sculptor Oscar Jespers and the Dadaist Paul Joostens, to the circle around the writer-critic Paul Van Ostaijen, who absorbs the influence of European Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism and Futurism. In the 1920’s, he associates with the groups Sélection and Centaure that are operating in Brussels. Critics at home and abroad speak of him in the same breath with Permeke, De Smet and Van den Berghe as leading ‘Flemish Expressionists’. His ‘post-expressionistic’ work is particularly varied by his mastery in various media. In addition to oil paintings, numerous drawings, etchings and paintings (behind glass) arise in which regional themes are interchanged with circus scenes. In his satirically inspired city themes he often applies styles with an art-deco inclining formalism. The ‘anxious 1930’s’ bring along a change: Jespers makes a turnaround towards traditional painting. The series ‘Flemish and Walloon landscapes’, still lives and portraits form a return to a ‘specialist’ art of painting, while he still also provides a contribution to the revival of monumental art through his tapestry designs for the world exhibitions in Paris and New York. Shortly after WWII Jespers experiences a new highpoint with a connection again with the international modernism, subsequently regenerating himself in the 1950’s with the ‘Congolese beauty’.
Source: House of Literature, Antwerp
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