'It is imposible to compare a work by Malevitch with a painting by Rubens, and my paintings could not be seen as ‘tableaux’. It is a different dimension and a different spacial experience. How many of the collectors realize that I don’t know and it is not in any case my problem’ (Jef Verheyen in 1979 quoted in: Retrospectieve, Jef verheyen, 1932-1984, exh.cat. Josef Albers Museum Quadrat, Bottrop 1994, p. 10.)
The present work is an excellent example of Verheyen’s life-long pursuit to represent colour. Although he suffered with an abnormality of the eye, painting literally and metaphorically enabled the artist to be and see: ‘Je peins pour voir’ (I paint to see). Akin to 15th century Flemish Masters, Verheye’s smooth surface is achieved through the application of thin layers of paint to create the delicate allusion of depth and reality. Disguising the materiality of the image, colours become visible through the eradication of brushstroke and the subtle blend of shade throughout the picture, thereby transporting the viewer to Verheyen’s understanding of the ‘essence’ of reality. Colours become disassociated from specific objects and become self-determinant in their own right. The depiction of colour is just colour: ‘A concentration of energies, that due to the organisation of colourful pigments, thus because of the mastery of the artist, form into images that some hypersensitive people experience as ghosts. Those ghosts are nothing different than a personification that arose from a certain power, so the organized power of colour is energy that is elementary’ (Jef Verheyen in 1979 quoted in: Retrospectieve, Jef verheyen, 1932-1984, exh.cat. Josef Albers Museum Quadrat, Bottrop 1994, p. 14).