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Georges Minne (1866-1941)
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Georges Minne (1866-1941)

L'Agenouillé de la fontaine: de geknielde aan de bron

Georges Minne (1866-1941)
L'Agenouillé de la fontaine: de geknielde aan de bron
signed 'GMinne' (on the side of the base)
78 cm. high
Conceived in 1898 and executed circa 1901.
Mr. J. de Blieck, Aalst, thence by descent to the present owner.
L. van Puyvelde, George Minne, Brussels 1930, cat.no. 26, ill.no. 24-25.
André de Ridder, George Minne, Antwerp 1947, p. 14, (ill. of another marble).
Paul Haesaerts, George Minne, Sint-Martens-Latem 1965, p. 89, (ill. of a bronze).
R. Hozee (a.o.), George Minne en de kunst rond 1900, Kruishouten 1982, cat.no. 71, p. 149 (ill. of a bronze version).
Exh.cat. Wilhelm Lehmbruck, George Minne, Joseph Beuys, Ghent 1991, cat.no. 96 (ill. of a bronze version)
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Lot Essay

Born in Ghent in 1866, Minne studied architecture until 1884. Two years later Minne joined the prestigious Symbolist art group Les Vingt, members of which included Fernand Khnopff, James Ensor, Theo van Rijsselberghe and Henry van de Velde.

The motif of the kneeling figure begins in the mid-1890's and culminates in the Fontaine des agenouillés (fig.1), a work commissioned by art patron Karl Ernst Osthaus for the Folkwang Museum in Hagen. George Minne's L'Agenouillé not only embodies the primary elements of Art Nouveau and Symbolism, but also recalls stylistic facets of Gothic northern European sculpture. The work cleary departs from the tradition of literal naturalism and instead introduces a tactile representation of emotional experience. Completely self-absorbed the youth shields himself from the external world, suggesting an inner life withheld from the viewer.
Other marble examples of this sculpture can be found at the Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and in the Musée de Gand in Ghent.

Senator and brewer Jozef de Blieck was a mecenas for the artist Valerius de Saedeleer, who started assembling his collection of Belgian art before 1910. The present lot has been in the possession of his family ever since.

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