Portland Art Museum acquires pointillist painting by Theo Van Rysselberghe

The Portland Art Museum announce the recent acquisition of an important painting by Théo Van Rysselberghe (Belgium, 1862 – 1926). Plage à marée basse à Ambleteuse, le soir (Beach at Low Tide, Ambleteuse, Evening) is now on display on the first floor of the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art.

Theo Van Rysselberghe (Belgium, 1862–1926). Plage à marée basse à Ambleteuse, le soir (Beach at Low Tide, Ambleteuse, Evening). Portland Art Museum

The 1900 canvas is the first pointillist painting to enter the Museum’s collection and provides an important link between the avant-garde of post-impressionist activity of Paris and its Belgian counterparts. A major figure in the development of modernism in the Low Country, Van Rysselberghe was a founder of the group that staged major exhibitions in Brussels of leading French radical painters of the day including Monet, Seurat, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.

This major canvas presents the beach scene as an intellectual construct of color and optics. Capturing the setting sun across the low horizon of the ocean and tide-washed beach, Van Rysselberghe uses an almost florescent palette of contrasting colored dots to optically activate the scene. It is the only publicly available work by Van Rysselberghe on the West Coast.

The painting was a gift from Life Trustee Laura Meier and her late husband Roger.

“I am extremely grateful to Laura for her ongoing generosity, which is demonstrated by her remarkable commitment and support of introducing great works of art into the public realm for generations to appreciate,” said Director Brian Ferriso.

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