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.
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.