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 Leon De Smet  (1881 - 1966)

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Lived/Active: Belgium      Known for: modernist landscape, figure and still life painting

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Ghent Belgium 20th July 1881, Leon De Smet studied at the Academy Des Beaux Arts in Ghent where his celebrated brother Gustave de Smet studied before him.  De Smet briefly joined the expressionist group in Laethem and afterwards the circle of Vie Et Lumiere with Theo Van Rysselberghe. 

Leon's painting from the outset was impressionistic in style, and it was Emile Claus (1849-1924) who introduced Leon to 'Luministic Impressionism'.  His chosen subjects were landscape, figure and still life, his medium oil and pastel. 
Much of his painting was rhythmical in style with thick impasto, and confident use of paint and colour.

He lived at Laethem-Saint Martin between 1906-1913.  In 1914, at the outbreak of war and as soon as his brother Gustave had left for the Netherlands, Leon went to England.  Here he created a successful career as a portrait painter.  His many famous sitters included George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy and Joseph Conrad.

With the exception of a short period around 1920 when De Smet experimented with the Modern Movement of Expressionism, which his brother had embraced, Leon remained true to his primary style of Impressionism: 'Les Bon Hevas De La vie' as he described it.

In 1926 Leon moved to Devrle where he died in 1966. 

Trinity House Fine Art Consultants,

Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

In the first decade of the 20th century, Léon de Smet was a significant member of the school of Laethem-Saint-Martin, the group of Flemish artists who helped to instill the trend toward modernism in Belgian painting.

Laethem was located at a bend in the River Lys a few miles from Ghent, where de Smet attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The beauty of the area attracted young painters from the city, including Albert Saverys, Constant Permeke, Gustave de Smet (brother of Léon), Fritz van den Berghe and others.

De Smet later participated in the “Vie et Lumière” Circle with Théo van Rysselberghe, whose broad strokes of brilliant color bear comparison to de Smet’s own brushwork.

Museum Collections:
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp; Groeningemuseum, Bruges; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels; Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent; Indianapolis Museum of Art;

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