Press Releases Family of Roger Somville donates fifteen of his works to the King Baudouin Foundation

Family of Roger Somville donates fifteen of his works to the King Baudouin Foundation

Family of Roger Somville donates fifteen of his works to the King Baudouin Foundation

The oeuvre of well-known Belgian artist Roger Somville, the founder of the ‘mouvement realiste’, will be preserved and made accessible to the public forever. His heirs have made sure of that by donating a representative series of fifteen works to the King Baudouin Foundation.
The family of Belgian artist Roger Somville (1923-2014) has donated fifteen significant works of art to the King Baudouin Foundation. This means that the heritage of one of Belgium’s most important representatives of the socialist-inspired realism movement will be preserved and made accessible to all for ever. By making this donation, the children of Roger Somville, Claire and Marc Somville, have carried out the wishes of their mother, ceramist Simone Somville Tits.

Roger Somville was a committed artist and enthusiastic defender of realism (art that is in direct contact with real life). He was strongly motivated to transform reality – history, society and people – into artistic and often monumental creations. To do this, he created his own universe in which the person stands at the centre, with characters who often appear rather dreamy, evolving towards an abstract universe.

Hankar metro station

Somville developed a monumental, expressive style that incorporated social aspects. This culminated in his large-scale wall paintings such as Notre temps at Hankar metro station in Brussels. Two canvases painted in preparation for this wall painting (La manifestante and Baigneuses de nuit) are part of the donation and in accordance with the donors’ wishes these have been given on long-term loan to the municipalities of Waterloo and Etterbeek. The other works of art which are on loan to municipalities and museums will remain on display there (Tervuren, Etterbeek, Waterloo, Foundation van der Burch).

Excellent selection

The series of works donated provide an excellent selection from Somville’s oeuvre. They reflect the diverse themes addressed in his work: people in general, workers, demonstrators, his wife as a muse, smokers and café life (Sans titre – Fumeurs), and also political and social issues (Pluie Acide), and the recurring theme of war (Nouvelles à Oostende). Somville began his artistic career on the eve of the Second World War, which left its mark on both his life and his art.

As well as an overview of the various periods in his career (from 1958 to 2000), these fifteen works provide a clear view of the diverse artistic techniques that he used, including oil paint, acrylic paint, Indian ink and pastels. The donation also includes two ceramic bowls. In 1951 he and his wife, ceramist Simone Tits, set up the studio ‘Céramique de Dour’. He also made tapestries and a number of large-scale wall paintings. In 1946 he set up the ‘Centre de Rénovation de la Tapisserie’ and the ‘Forces murales’ group together with Edmond Dubrunfaut and Louis Deltour.

Additional image material is available on request, but only for use in reports on the donation.

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