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Edmond van Dooren (1896 - 1965)

Lot 447: Stadtvision (cubo-futurist composition)


June 25, 2008
London, United Kingdom

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Edmond van Dooren (Belgian, 1896-1965)
Stadtvision (cubo-futurist composition)
signed 'E.van Dooren.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
52 x 55 7/8 in. (132 x 142 cm.)
Painted circa 1925-1926


Heidelberg, Obelisk Internationaler Kunsthandel, Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, 1991 (illustrated pp. 22-23).
Altenburg, Lindenau-Museum, Internationale Sprachen der Kunst: Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen der Klassischen Moderne aus der Sammlung Hoh, August - October 1998, no. 15 (illustrated p. 53); this exhibition later travelled to Osnabrück, Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall and Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.


The artist's estate.
Obelisk Internationaler Kunsthandel, Heidelberg.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.



Into this vision of the city, Edmond van Dooren sought to introduce the universal language of abstraction as a means of conveying the force and dynamism of urban life. The girders and ramps of his jarring and fragmented structures jut forcefully upwards to replicate the imposing geometry of modern architecture. With an oblique angularity that appears to reference Vladimir Tatlin's monumental, constructivist tower design, the prismatic composition of Stadtvision exemplifies van Dooren's exploration of semi-abstract form, based on the structural patterns and frenetic pace of the metropolis.

Van Dooren's fantastical cityscape invokes modern living as a triumphant and vibrant experience and is an expression of his utopian vision of the future. The painter was amongst the forefront of Belgium's avant-garde art scene, and developed his distinctly precipitous variation of cubist and futurist ideas after coming into contact with Theo van Doesburg and Tommaso Marinetti in 1918. It was in this year that van Dooren would found the Moderne Kunst group with Jozef Peeters to provide a link between the avant-garde in Belgium and abroad. Inspired by van Doesburg's De Stijl publication, Moderne Kunst established the influential periodical Het Overzicht (The Overview). The periodical was one of the most important reviews in Europe for abstract and constructivist art, and served as an important rallying point for progressive contemporary art until its suspension in 1925. Van Dooren was also noted for his contributions to the group's series of exhibitions and conferences throughout the 1920s, which promoted the work of Magritte, Archipenko, Balla, Klee, Schwitters and Vantongerloo, amongst others. Moderne Kunst played a significant role in bringing international modernism to the attention of the Belgian art community and van Dooren's association with these artists reinforced his exploration of a geometric abstraction that responds to the modern environment and posits new ideas about the nature of form and space.

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