Frans Michiels, collection House of Literature, Antwerp.

De Tafelronde (Algemeen Cultureel Maandblad/ General Cultural Monthly Paper) determines, along with Het Cahier and Gard-Sivik, the elevated artistic state of affairs that Antwerp experiences in the 1950’s and 60’s. Under the leadership of Paul De Vree, De Tafelronde is a forum for avant-garde literature and the major advocate for concrete and visual poetry in Flanders. It also keeps a finger on the pulse here of the post-War expressive arts. With Antwerp as a basis, the paper especially has an eye for the developments of the new generation that energetically gives shape to the neo-avant-garde. In 1960, when the abstract ‘New Flemish School’ breaks with the G 58 initiatives in the Hessenhuis, De Tafelronde supplies the group with a voice. The special friendship between Chief Editor De Vree and the painter Jef Verheyen, who together write a manifesto of the movement, ensures for a cross pollination of ideas. As such, contacts arise between writers such as Ivo Michiels and Guy Vaes as well as plastic artists like Guy Mees (1935 - 2003), Bert de Leeuw (1926 - 2007) and Paul van Hoeydonck (1925).  In addition, the valuable international contacts of Verheyen with Lucio Fontana (1899 - 1968), Yves Klein (1928 - 1962) and Günther Uecker (1930), among others, provide an international dimension.

Jef Verheyen supports an existential ‘meditative’ abstraction on which he writes in the articles ‘Essentialisme 1’ and ‘Essentialisme 2’ which, edited by De Vree, are published in De Tafelronde in 1958 and 1960. De Vree promotes the group in the exposition Profile II—Belgische Kunst Heute in the Städtische Kunstgalerie of Bochum with work by Vic Gentils (1919 - 1997), Walter Leblanc, Guy Vandenbranden (1916 - 2014), Wout Vercammen (1938), Jef Verheyen, Englebert van Anderlecht (1918 - 1961), Roger Raveel (1921 - 2013) and Bram Bogart (1921 - 2012), among others. Still in 1965, De Vree organises Nouvelles Recherches Flamandes in the Musée Rath in Geneva. After this, the group ceases activity.


Sergio Servellón


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