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Léon Spilliaert

Ostend 1881 - 1946 Brussels
Price range
0 – 1,000,000 USD
Léon Spilliaert was a painter of the fin de siècle Belgian avant-garde whose idiosyncratic style blends Symbolism, Expressionism and even Surrealism.

Spilliaert was driven by a meditative contemplation of his subjects, be it scrutinous introspection or the avid observation of nature. Among his most famous works are a series of haunted Self-portraits and his crepuscular views of Bruges and Ostend. Like many of the Symbolists, the majority of his significant output was on paper. His work was strongly affected by the existential dread of late nineteenth-century writers, especially Edgar Allen Poe. While he was greatly appreciated by his peers, like the Austrian author Stefan Zweig, it wasn’t until the 1970s that his work became better known to a wider public.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

544,593 $
559,189 $
816,438 $


The sales are: Sotheby’s Paris – 3 Jun 2015 lot 23 (483,000 EUR), Christie’s Paris – 31 Mar 2022 lot 117 (504,000 EUR), and Dee Vuyst – 24 Oct 2015 lot 107 (741,000 EUR).
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Notable exhibitions

London, Royal Academy of Arts, Léon Spilliaert, 5 August – 20 September 2020. Curated by Anne Adriaens-Pannier and Noémie Goldman.

Gingins, Fondation Neumann, Léon Spilliaert: vertiges et visions, 6 June – 15 September 2002; travelled to Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse de Douai, 28 September 2002 – 5 January 2003. Curated by Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Fabienne Aellen and Norbert Hostyn.

Paris, Galeries nationales du Grand-Palais, Léon Spilliaert, 1881-1946, 26 septembre-30 novembre 1981; travelled to Brussels, Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, 22 January – 28 March 1982. Curated by Michel Laclotte, Eliane Wauquiez and Francine-Claire Legrand.

Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus, Léon Spilliaert, 20 August – 11 September 1977. Curated by Francine-Claire Legrand.


Books on Léon Spilliaert

Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Léon Spilliaert, exh. cat. London, 2020.

Xavier Tricot, Léon Spilliaert: Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints, 2nd ed. Antwerp, 2020.

Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Léon Spilliaert: From the Depths of the Soul, Brussels, 2018.

Inne Gheeraert and Mieke Miels, James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert: Two Great Ostend Masters, exh. cat. Ostend, 2016.

Anne Adriaens-Pannier, Léon Spilliaert : un esprit libre, exh. cat. Brussels, 2006.

Norbert Hostyn, Léon Spilliaert, exh. cat. Ostend, 1990.

Philippe Roberts-Jones and Francine-Claire Legrand, Léon Spilliaert, 1881-1946, exh. cat. Brussels, 1982.

Francine-Claire Legrand, Léon Spilliaert et son Époque, Turnhout, 1981.

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