Tytgat, Edgard (1879-1957) by Scholes, Robert

Edgard Tytgat (1879 – 1957) The following information about this artist comes from the web pages of the Belgian Federal Portal: “Edgard Tytgat was born in Brussels. He combined expressionism with a poetic, sometimes dreamy style. “Tytgat spent his youth in Bruges, until the family moved to the capital in 1888. After a failed attempt to become a clock-maker, he attended the Brussels Fine Arts Academy in 1897. As a young painter, he was influenced by the fauvism that had come to the city from Paris. This new tendency in art reached its peak between 1905 and 1907, and prepared the way for expressionism. Edgard Tytgat joined the Brabant fauvists, who were under the influence of impressionists and humanists and gathered around the figure of Rik Wouters. With around ten progressive artists, they met regularly in Auderghem, at the home of their colleague Auguste Oleffe. In that period, Edgard Tytgat painted works in which the sense of construction and the striking use of colour were the prime features. Just like his contemporaries, he tried to reduce painting to colour and the fundamental elements such as lines and rhythm. During the First World War, he remained in exile in England. Gradually, he developed his own poetic style, in which he combined his own inspiration with expressionist influences. His works often appear somewhat naïve. In the “Invitation to Paradise” in 1922, he depicted Santa Claus as the gate-keeper of the Garden of Eden, leading the children into a safely walled butterfly garden in which there is only one adult: the painter himself, surrounded by playing children and animals. Subjects that often crop up in Tytgat’s work are: fairground cavalcades, parades and the carousel. Scenes of childhood, as if he wanted to expunge the horrors of world war from his memory. “Besides being a painter, Edgard Tytgat was also an etcher and illustrator/lithographer. He was also an inspired leader of the Free Drawing Workshop in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, which grew out of a meeting place for graduates from higher institutes and art academies in Ixelles and Brussels. They painted together, discussed about art, and talked about each other’s work. Edgard Tytgat died on 11 January 1957 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.”

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