Gaston Bertrand

Year and place of birth: 1910, Wonck, Belgium Location: d. 1994, Uccle, Belgium

In 1932, Gaston Bertrand was admitted to the military hospitals of Liège and Brussels. His fascination with the grand architecture of these buildings sowed the seeds for his later abstract work, which uses architecture and interior design as its starting point. Just prior to the Second World War, Bertrand founded the artists’ group ‘La Route Libre’. His works were initially figurative and expressionistic in style. In the late 1940s he evolved from animism – a movement which, unlike expressionism, focused more on the introspective – to his own form of geometric abstraction. After the war, with the groups ‘Apport’ and ‘La Jeune Peinture Belge’, Bertrand continued to advocate for painting that was as autonomous as possible. However, his work from this period was still predominately figurative. In the early 1950s, Bertrand gained international recognition with exhibitions in São Paulo and New York. His oeuvre occupies a key position within the genesis of Belgian post-war lyrical abstraction.

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