Leon de Smet (1881-1966). Beautiful Paintings!
Leon de Smet was born in Gent, Belgium, where he studied at the local Academy for the Fine Arts. From the beginning he painted in an impressionistic way.
In the beginning of the First World War he fled to Great Britain Soon he was quickly able to count influential cultural figures among his friends such as the writers Joseph Conrad, John Galsworthy, Bernard Shaw. He gradually emerged as a welcome society figure. He would make a fortune with portrait painting during his British exile.
The first London triumph followed in January of 1917 with a noteworthy individual exhibition at the Leicester Gallery.
Leon De Smet (1881-1966). Still Lifes and Landscapes
It the end of 1917 De Smet was called to arms. But the superb portrait painter knew how to bend fate to his will, painting primarily portraits of his superiors. He was stationed in Normandy, as assistant to the medical services.
In the years up until 1920 his style was clearly divisionistic in which he mingled in soft strokes of pastel-like pallets. In that time his interiors with figures were intimate and dreamlike. He continued his career in his primary style of the Impressionism, nevertheless the divisionistic touch faded away and was replaced by more vivid colours, and less vague figures. Among his favorite subjects we can find landscapes, figures and still lifes. He often painted his first and second wives Maria and Claire and their families.
He settled in Deurle in 1930. He lived on Pontstraat in the garden house of Hotel Saint-Christophe. Around this time, De Smet also worked on a series of portraits of leading public figures for example The Portrait of Queen Astrid (1935).