Henri Goovaerts

Dancing women

Dancing women
Dating presumably January 1892
Material / technique oil on panel
Dimensions 29,5 x 45,5 cm
Exhibitions presumably: Maastricht 1894 (November 25 - December 9), 'Goovaerts', cat. no. 33 or 35, 'Dancing women, composition - Florence'
Provenance Lily Goovaerts Gift by Lily Goovaerts to Stichting Limburgs Kunstbezit 1952 Gift from Stichting Limburgs Kunstbezit to present owner
Current residence Collection Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht
Signature none
Remarks On January 14, 1892, Henri Goovaerts writes from Florence in a letter to his teacher in Amsterdam, August Allebé, that he has started a somewhat unusual composition: ‘I could hardly say what it represents. At best I could call it a dream. I got the first idea for this composition at the Campo di Marto here. This is a vast field, terribly large and beyond it are the mountains with their long bodies. It is something mystical to see this at sunset when all those trees and mountains adopt their silhouettes. Then that wide field. Typically a place where after sunset so to say mystical figures appear and celebrate their party. I hope to be able to send you that composition, which in my humble opinion is my best work, together with my other works in March.’ (Letter in the archives of the Rijksakademie Amsterdam, Rijksarchief voor Noord-Holland (Haarlem), file 239) This panel may be a sketch for that composition. The mystical figures in the field remind us of the figures on Botticelli's allegory of Spring (Primavera). Henri Goovaerts was very impressed by Botticelli's painting from the moment he saw it in Florence. Later he will choose that painting for one of the copy assignments he has to do during his study trip in Southern Europe. We do not know whether Goovaerts ever elaborated the composition with mystical figures on a larger format and sent it to the Netherlands.
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