Les Flambeaux (The Torch-bearers), a key work by the artist and of a particular period

20th of February 2015

Not only a testimony to the historical context in which it was created, this painting, acquired by the Heritage Fund, also marks an important landmark in Antoine Mortier’s oeuvre.

This colourful, atypical work does not initially appear to be part of Mortier’s masterly abstract works, known for their predominance of black. Created at the end of World War II, the painting is, nevertheless, of significant importance in the artistic trajectory of Brussels artist Antoine Mortier (1908-1999).

The painting reveals the indisputable talents of Mortier as a colourist as much as it shows the vigour of his brush strokes that so characterise his work. The work lies at the juncture of two periods in Mortier’s work: that inspired by Flemish expressionism and the period that came to be known as lyrical abstraction, which was to make his name. Two important characteristics of his work are already present in this painting, namely the black that predominates over a careful alloy of bright colours and a simplification of shape that announces complete abstraction. In Les Flambeaux, we detect what art history owes to Mortier. Deserving of its place in Belgian heritage, Mortier’s work is now part of the Foundation’s collections.