Rêverie – Self-Portrait (c.1930)
FELIX DE BOECK (1898-1995)
Pencil drawing; signed lower right
In period faux tortoiseshell frame
He scorns conventional values, defies fashionable opinions and should inspire us to defy all that threatens to impair our humanity: lies, tanks, tear gas, ideologies, opinion polls, mechanisation, planners, computers, the whole lot…
Kenneth Clark, Civilisation 1969
Clark’s summation of Rodin’s sculpture of Balzac in Civilisation might easily apply to Belgian artist Felix de Boeck as depicted by himself in this picture. He too famously scorned conventional values and defied fashionable opinions, being one of the most original and independent minds in early 20th century art.
All his life he resisted belonging to any artist’s group or movement and refused to allow his pictures to be shown alongside any other artist. He lived and worked all of his life on his farm at Drogenbos, near Brussels. He wanted to be seen as the artist who had to earn his living as a farmer but dismissed the Romantic image of a painting farmer. Therefore, he only allowed himself to work on his paintings on Sundays. He sounded off from a distance, contributing his thoughts on culture and art almost weekly to the periodicals of the day.
After the Great War, he adopted the abstract technique (unique to himself) of ‘masking’ his pictures with geometric, circular shapes. And he chose this technique for this portrait of himself.
Félix De Boeck’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price for this artist at auction is 41,734 USD for Abstract Landscape sold at Berna Bernaerts in 2018.