Camille De Taeye (1938-2013) developed his reputation during the second half of the 20th century, thanks to the originality of his themes and the enigmatic poetry of his compositions. It is said that his work lies at the crossroads of Symbolism, Surrealism and the Fantastic and that it features its own ‘grammar’, in which ‘Belgitude’, sentiment and poetry have a central place. His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, the Ixelles Museum, the L Museum in Louvain-La-Neuve and the BAM in Mons. A huge work by the artist can be seen in the Eddy Merckx metro station in Brussels.
The Arthothèque of Mons has selected several of De Taeye’s most emblematic works in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation. In order to ensure their accessibility to the general public, the 56 drawings, 42 paintings and 58 silk-screen prints have been entrusted to the Mons museum, where they will complete the collection of Camille De Taeye’s works already present at the Artothèque. The choice of works was made in function of the interesting dialogue that they could have with the works of other artists who had links to Surrealism or the Fantastic, or with themes such as death and absence.
Among the works selected are:
- Notre ami le roi ou l’hotel Terminus de Rabat (Our friend the King or the Hotel Terminus of Rabat): a painting made for an exhibition in Morocco, in which some elements illustrate a sort of black humour and have echoes of violence;
- A drawing of a green mountain: a work used by counter-tenor Dominique Corbiau on one of his tours;
- Le chapelier rêve (The Dreaming Hatter): a painting made during the last year of the artist’s life;
- L’archet absent (The Absent Bow: a painting with a woman, a saw, cauliflower and water lily): illustrating several aspects of Camille De Taeye’s oeuvre, such as violence and beauty in opposition to each other, the colour green, his own ‘grammar’ with objects rarely represented in art, such as the saw, relationship art in which the painting creates an ensemble of objects in relation to one another, a symbol to be discovered;
- Aménophis: a picture illustrating the artist’s collaboration with a number of poets;
- A portrait of Gerda: in homage to his first wife, Gerda Vancluysen, a poet who greatly supported the artist in the development of his work.
Some of Camille De Taeye’s works that have been entrusted to the Artothèque can be seen as part of the exhibition devoted to Surrealism, from 23 March, 2019, at the Musée des Beaux -Arts de Mons (BAM). This exhibition is held together with the Giorgio De Chirico exhibition 'Aux origines du surréalisme belge: Magritte, Delvaux, Graverol' (at the BAM from 16 February to 2 June 2019).
In order to perpetuate De Taeye’s work and disseminate knowledge about it, the Camille De Taeye Fund has been set up within the King Baudouin Foundation. The Fund will support various projects, such as books or doctoral theses on the artist and his work.