A breath of spring nostalgia comes to me straight from Watermael-Boitsfort where Rik Wouters, Brabant fauvism figurehead, lived his most prolific years. Before being swept by the 14-18 War and cancer at 33 years of age.
Is the link between a Brussels municipality and the regions between Meuse and Rhine not strikingly obvious? There are more than one. Wouters, before being a self-educated painter, had a training as a sculptor. One of his most moving bronzes of which the original plaster statue is in the Museum of Beaux-Arts in Brussels, is called Domestic Worries. There is a version of it on the edge of the little Park of Leybeek in Boitsfort where I so frequently walked. Another one is in the Rheinepark of Cologne, capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia.
The model of this concerned little housewife is none other than Nel Deurinkckx, the artists’ wife, who was also his muse until the end. Nel and her wise hair bun do not have the same tragic notoriety as a Jeanne Hébuterne, who committed suicide a couple of days after Modigliani’s death. (It’s not only a recent thing to go overboard in order to make a buzz…) But it is the face of Nel that illuminates the painting chosen by the museum of the Boverie as a banner of an unavoidable exhibition: Liège. Master pieces.
It will also be the occasion to navigate on the Meuse and tackle other seasonal themes. Young shoots of Liège microbreweries. Offensive of wild narcissus. Blooming cherry blossoms in Limburg. And the finest of homemade mustard to pick up your summer salads…
This second number of Feel n’ Cross (house)holds many surprises.
So let’s not waste any more time and let’s search Nel…
Head House Keeper
Photograph: Gilles Maes – www.gilles-maes.be