For nearly fifty years, Raoul De Keyser (1930-2012) created subtly evocative paintings and works on paper which appear at once straightforward and cryptic, abstract and figurative. Composed of basic but indefinable shapes and marks, his works often invoke spatial and figural illusions, though they remain elusive of any descriptive narrative. Despite—or precisely because of—their sparse gesturing, De Keyser’s works convey a grandeur that inspires prolonged contemplation. Individually as well as collectively, his works revolve around the activity of painting, but also move beyond its physical means to become more than the sum of their parts. Their apparent simplicity belies a lengthy gestation period, which is guided largely by intuition, rather than by following a pre-existing plan.
De Keyser was born in 1930 in Deinze, Belgium. Since 1999, his work has been represented by David Zwirner and in 2011, Raoul De Keyser: FREEDOM marked the artist’s fifth solo show at the gallery.
Since the mid-1960s, his work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions at prominent institutions, most recently in 2011 at the De Loketten, Flemish Parliament, Brussels. In 2009, his paintings were exhibited in a retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany, and his watercolors were presented jointly at the Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal, and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. A major survey of the artist’s paintings traveled extensively from 2004 and 2005 to the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Musée de Rochechouart, France; De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; and the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland. Other venues that have hosted important solo exhibitions over the past decade include the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France (2008); Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek, Deinze, Belgium (2007); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2002); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (both 2001); and The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2000).
Work by the artist is held in a number of permanent collections worldwide, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent; among numerous others.
Click here to download full CV