Walter Swennen - Summer Wave Paris Thursday, August 3, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Willy D’huyser, Brussels
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Belgian artist Walter Swennen is renowned for his experimental and exploratory approach to painting. Before he became a painter, Swennen was a poet, and his literary and philosophical outlook continue to guide his artistic output, with elements such as symbolic meaning, irony and legibility playing a strong part in his visual practice. His diverse oeuvre incorporates a number of techniques and materials, always with a focus on exploring the relationship between subject matter and representation, word and image, with a playful style that leaves room for the viewer’s own imagination and interpretation.

    Executed in 1995, Untitled exemplifies Swennen’s associative approach to image-making; the sparse canvas with the stark, delineated figure on the boat against an abstract swathe of dripping blue, provides the viewer with the bare minimum tools we need to complete the image in our minds. The negative space allows the viewer the space to join the iconographic visual ‘dots’, the simple blue becomes the glittering surface of rippling water, and perspective follows, with the composition falling into place around it.

    Born in Brussels in 1946, Swennen has been the subject of a number of exhibitions throughout his career, including a major recent retrospective that opened at Kunstmuseum Bonn in 2021 and travelled to the Netherlands and Switzerland.



signed with the artist's initials and dated 'WS 95' on the reverse
oil and ink on canvas
53 x 45 cm (20 7/8 x 17 3/4 in.)
Executed in 1995.

Price On Request

Summer Wave