Louis van Lint (Saint-Josse-ten-Noode (Brussels), 1909 - Kraainem, 1986)
at the bottom, in italics: “Autoportrait. Van Lint 75”; in the centre and shifted to the right, above the face, in capital letters: “Luuis Van Lint”
One of the protagonists of abstract art trends in Belgium from the very early 1940s, Louis Van Lint approached the CoBrA group after the Second World War and then joined lyrical abstractionism: an international movement that developed in Europe and beyond, and united the different, variously abstract research of artists who, through the use of colour and the free expression of the sign, aim to transpose their personal interpretation of elements of the natural, animal and mineral world and the feeling they arouse into their works. In his extensive painting production, Van Lint represents balances and harmonies of telluric or marine movements, natural forms and germinations, and his own emotional tensions or inner calm.
In this self-portrait, the artist’s half-length bust stands out forcefully from the monochrome background. Van Lint shows the mature age and the time immediately following a long illness with frank courage, without dwelling on accessory details (in the hair, as in the clothing). The pronounced features of the physiognomy are traced with marked brown brush strokes, highlighting the hollowed-out physiognomy of the face on which, together with the nose and the ear, stand out piercing blue eyes, turned towards an indefinite elsewhere, the mirror of a soul ready to face the outside world. His own name, painted in capital letters, imposes itself like a stamp and seems to strongly sanction the originality of his painting style balanced between figurative and abstract form.
The painting was donated to the Uffizi Galleries by the artist’s grandson, Lionel Colin, in 2013.
F. Sborgi, in Uffizi Self-portrait Masterpieces, a cura di V. Gavioli e A. Griffo, catalogo della mostra (Shanghai, Bund One Art Museum, 09.09.2022-08.01.2023),