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Jeux
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Joie
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Soir
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The Mirror
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Volupté

The artist Frans de Geetere was born François Joseph Jean de Geetere in Oudergem, a suburb of Brussels. Frans de Geetere studied at the Beaux-Arts in Brussels, but rebelled against the academic teaching there. With his partner, the painter May den Engelsen, Frans de Geetere sailed a barge from Brussels to Paris, where they moored by the Quai de Conti by the Pont Neuf and lived a Bohemian lifestyle. De Geetere and den Engelsen were intimate with Harry and Caresse Crosby in the late 1920s; Harry wrote to his mother, “If it is possible for two people to be in love with two people then we are in love with them.” Harry Crosby shot himself after the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Frans de Geetere had an exhibition the following year at the Galerie de la Plume d’Or, introduced by the art critic André Warnod. But that was, essentially the end of his career. The chief influence on Frans de Geetere’s work was the Belgian Symbolists, particularly Fernand Khnopff. The etchings of Frans de Geetere are sombre and disquieting, infused with a miasma of conflicted sexuality and existential dread. His art now feels very modern, resonating, for instance, with both that of Paula Rego and that of Jake and Dinos Chapman. In his own lifetime Frans de Geetere fell so far out of favour that he titled a volume of lightly-fictionalised memoirs, self-published from his barge the Marie-Jeanne, L’homme qui oublia de mourir – The man who forgot to die.
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Illustration for Les chants de Maldoror
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Illustration for Les chants de Maldoror
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Illustration for Les chants de Maldoror
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Mes Communions II
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Offrande
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Unknown title
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The scream

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Le sein

“The darkness of the forest where he was born, the sombre curriculum of the monks together with the rich darkness of ecclesiastical music, the spark of revolt kindled at the Academy of Brussels and whipped into a flame of hatred by the frescoes his father compelled him to paint in the neighboring churches, his first escape (if artists can be said to escape), the year of hunger whitewashing the walls of houses (le soleil contre le mur blanc) and, at nineteen, night duty as guardian in a maison de fous, these were, for M. Frans de Geetere, the foundation stones of that strange building men call the soul. In the madhouse he worked at his painting by day, and by night snatched unsettled hours of sleep, and in this environment developed those queer, abnormal faces that stare out at us from the pages of Maldoror. …And if “Lautreamont has liberated the imagination and dispelled our fear to enter into darkness” as Mr. Jolas so significantly remarked, M. de Geetere with a smoldering rage and fearlessness of creation followed the poet into darkness–”into the occult beyond” to quote Mr. Jolas again, “where new and demonic visions” (I am reminded of Beardsley and Redon and Alastair) “people our solitude.”

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Spasmes
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