15 september – 16 december 2018
MOU Museum Oudenaarde
It is the first time the works of Adriaen Brouwer will be exhibited in Oudenaarde, the artist’s birthplace. The MOU, housed in the historic town hall on Oudenaarde Markt, will serve as the location for the retrospective exhibition. The works are being gathered together from a number of private and public collections spread throughout Europe and the United States.
Despite being famous in his own time, today, Adriaen Brouwer (still) does not enjoy the prominence of contemporaries such as Rubens or Van Dyck. Nevertheless, he was extremely talented and his work was highly prized. His contemporaries Rubens and Rembrandt were fervent collectors of his work. This exhibition offers the public the unique opportunity to discover the versatility, high artistic quality and innovative character of Brouwer’s art.
Singing man with beer can – Adriaen Brouwer -Kunstmuseum, Bazel
The exhibition is compiled around four thematic clusters, each of which focuses on a characteristic aspect of Brouwer’s oeuvre. These clusters are used to illustrate Adriaen Brouwer’s artistic personality.
This theme focuses on Brouwer as the continuator of the Bruegel tradition. Brouwer’s early peasant scenes depicting peasants revelling, drinking, smoking and brawling are exhibited in relation to work by ‘Flemish’ artists that were responsible for continuing and alternating the Bruegel idiom in the Southern Netherlands and the Dutch Republic during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Peaceful scenes of playing and musical peasant companies, but Brouwer is also a fan of anti-heroes from everyday life: his characters are smoking, drinking, flirting, fighting, partying …
During his stay in the Dutch Republic, Brouwer brought the Bruegelian visual representations in line with newer trends such as the fashionable cheery companies in Dirck Hals’ works.
Thanks to his unprecedented depiction of human emotions Brouwer instigated a radical change in the pictorial tradition. These innovations are most obvious in the so-called ‘tronies’ or grotesque heads. Conceived as the face of an individual and type, the tronie accurately portrays feelings and characters.
In this theme we display Brouwer’s atmospheric landscapes. Rubens acquired several landscapes by Brouwer and these had a considerable impact on the master.
“The paintings by Adriaen Brouwer are a tableau vivant that offers insight into the daily life at that time. Brouwer’s gaze focuses on the human condition and captures the everydayness of the people with sometimes corrosive realism. “
– Luc Tuymans (artist) –