Artist: Leon Spilliaert
Born: 28 July 1881, Ostend, Belgium
Nationality: Belgian
Movement: Symbolism
Died: 23 November 1946, Brussels, Belgium

Vertigo (1908, Chinese Ink watercolour on paper) Leon Spilliaert

Leon Spilliaert was a painter and graphic artist. A sickly and reclusive child he spent most of his childhood sketching and doodling and became a prolific doodler and autodidact. At 21 he went to work in Brussels to illustrate for Edmond Demon, a publisher of symbolist writers. The influence of Odilon Redon is seen in Spilliaert’s expressive use of black. Often presented in a dreamlike setting his work is often melancholic and silent. Spilliaert died in 1946 aged 65.

Vertigo is worked in graduations of ink black to dusky grey to portray a solitary figure. The diagonals veering across the painting to depict steps and create a sense of tension, spacial dislocation and isolation in emptiness.

The painting is currently housed by Mu.Zee, Ostend, Belgium

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