1957 – 1996
In his brief but remarkable professional career as an artist, Herman Bellaert (1957 - 1996) evolved from the expressionism of the 1980s to more abstract work, particularly in his intriguing, vigorous canvases that embrace mystery, before later on experimenting with various materials such as lead, reclaimed wood and pure colour in which silence predominates.
Herman Bellaert was born in Ostend and attended graphic art courses at Saint-Lucas in Ghent. This graphic art background plays a defining role in his paintings of the 1980s. It can be recognized in the composition of his work, even in the use of colours. The colour black is often quite clearly present, sometimes emphatically so. It is expressive work that emerges. Although it is abstract, at the same time it evokes memories of space and places in the mind. It lets you wander through the work and takes you to unfamiliar places shrouded in mystery. It’s not a smooth piece of art, it’s like a rough shell, still unfinished with space for both adventure and surprise. It is so infinitely more than just a painting.
At some stage the rather gloomy use of colour becomes brighter, more contrasting. In the diptych ‘Luna Luna’, for which he was selected for the Europa Prize, warm red and yellow ochre emerge emphatically, while the bright yellow shimmers through the black that largely dominates the work. Black over and over again. It’s for this reason that he once said : “Where shall I end up? Maybe totally in black?” He actually loved the work of Pierre Soulages, the French painter known for the use of black in his paintings. The encounter with Soulages only came later, when he exhibited alongside him in the Veranneman Foundation. But he also loved the work of Constant Permeke, whose fine sense of strong outlines can be found in the work of the young painter.
Another diptych, also dating from 1988, reveals that a partially black background has been painted over with red and purple or violet. Large blocks of colour leave some space here and there for smudges of yellow, white and blue: brushstrokes and deletions, interventions and exposures, as if they were accidental but highly motivated. And then there is the diagonal structure that draws you into the painting, that vague perspective that drags you almost without noticing into the undefined space.
That same year another development was already evident in Herman Bellaert’s work. The more subdued, slightly cooler abstraction. But don’t be mistaken. To quote the artist himself:
“The starting point of my work is always something that moves me in my immediate everyday surroundings. Through painting I let these tangible subjects (woman, landscape, studio,...) lose their substance so to speak. In this way, the original subject is elevated to the status of a universal concept. Once the figurative theme has been triggered, I let go of this specific element. This is purely intuitive, which allows me greater freedom while I am painting. By using this ‘abstract’ approach - abstract because there is no immediate link with reality - I am increasingly freeing myself from the material element, the original image. I experience this method of working as a ‘spiritual’ process, transcending reality. Reality stripped of all excess baggage, of all things that are not essential. Painting or sculpting as a form of contemplation.”
Daan Rau, februari 2020
1975 Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Gent
1976 – 1980 Hoger Sint-Lucasinstituut Gent
1987 Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Oostende
1989 Galerij William Wouters, Oosteeklo
1992 Galerij S65, Aalst
1995 Stichting Veranneman, Kruishoutem
1996 Het Kunsthuis, vzw Vrienden van het PMMK, Oostende
2000 Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Oostende
2000 Het Kunsthuis, vzw Vrienden van het PMMK, Oostende
2015 VERSTILD, Venetiaanse Gaanderijen, stad Oostende
2020 Retrospective 1986 - 1996, Hilde Vandaele Gallery, Watou
1988 Prospect 7, Gele Zaal, Gent
1988 Biënnale Beeldende Kunst West-Vlaanderen
1988 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris
1991 Galerij Verplancke – Van Bavel, Brugge
1991 Art Basel (Galerij S65), Basel
1992 “Modernism in Painting“ PMMK, Oostende
1993 “Modernism in Painting“ Museum Van Bommel - Van Dam, Venlo
2018 ‘‘Voorbij de aanwezigheid” Hilde Vandaele Gallery, Watou
2019 ‘‘Works of Art” Hilde Vandaele Gallery, Watou
2022 ‘‘Emergent nodigt uit’’, Hilde Vandaele Gallery, Emergent, Veurne BE
1987 Jeune Peinture Belge (selectie) Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussel
1988 Europaprijs voor Schilderkunst (selectie) PMMK, Oostende
1988 Tweejaarlijkse Prijs voor Beeldende Kunst van de Provincie West-Vlaanderen
1988 (laureaat) Brugge
Werkbeurs Vlaamse Gemeenschap
1988 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris mei – september
1992 Reeks van vijf etsen in opdracht van de Vrienden van het PMMK
1996 Catalogus van de tentoonstelling in het Kunsthuis, Vrienden van het PMMK
2015 Catalogus van de tentoonstelling in de Venetiaanse Gaanderijen, VERSTILD,
1988 stad Oostende
Werken in het bezit van
Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Brussel
Nationale Bank van België, Brussel
HERMAN BELLAERT. PAUL BOURGEOIS.EMERGENT INVITES 30 Oct 2022 - 8 Jan 2023'Emergent Invites' is a project in which 9 galleries are invited to make a presentation in the spaces of Emergent. Our gallery presents artworks by PAUL BOURGEOIS and HERMAN BELLAERT....
HERMAN BELLAERTRETROSPECTIEVE 1986 - 1996 8 Mar - 28 Jun 2020In his brief but remarkable professional career as an artist, Herman Bellaert evolved from the expressionism of the 1980s to more abstract work, particularly in his intriguing, vigorous canvases that...
WORKS OF ARTSELECTED ARTWORKS BY ... 21 Dec 2019 - 5 Jan 2020HERMAN BELLAERT (BE) PAUL BOURGEOIS (BE) DAVID BRUNEEL (BE) TREES DE MITS (BE) CHRISTOPHE DENYS (BE) WILLY DE SAUTER (BE) ISA D’ HONDT (BE) LAURE FORÊT (FR) PAUL GEES (BE)...
HERMAN BELLAERT. PAUL BOURGEOIS. IRIS BOUWMEESTER. TREES DE MITS. ILONA PLAUMVOORBIJ DE AANWEZIGHEID 1 - 29 Jul 2018This exhibition is the fourth in a row which is being held in the new pavilion for Contemporary Art in Watou. In the previous exhibitions we explored the boundaries of...