The Fleming Karel Maes (°1900, in Mol) was one of the artists, who after World War II resolutely chose for the geometric abstraction. In Belgium, this artistic perspective is known as the ‘Community art’ or ‘Pure Plasticism’ (Zuivere Beelding). The Flemish artist Jozef Peeters brought both terms to life. Before the 1920’s, Maes was, however, also active as an artist. In this period he painted his neo-Impressionist, Fauvist and Cubist work, which shall slowly evolve into a mixture of Cubism and Futurism, becoming purely abstract in 1919. (Before the evolution, meeting, among others, Victor Servranckx, René Magritte and Pierre-Louis Flouquet in 1917 in the Brussels Academy was of great importance). In 1919, Maes completes ‘Character’, which is now found in the Mu.ZEE collection. That painting is highly Cubist; the figure that forms the subject of the work is brought into image by the artist by way of colour planes in the primary and secondary colours. Although 1919 is the year in which he fully switches over to the abstract, Maes has not completely done this with the painting of ‘Character’; the human figure is still clearly visible in the composition.
tempera on fiberboard/cardboard
30.5 cm x 48.5 cm
CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)