To Madame Lucien Pissarro
I hope you would not withhold against me... if I ask for the permission to go to Saint-Clair around three o'clock,
in order to have a session with my almond trees, which are finally blossoming, and for which I cannot bare to lose
a day where the effect will not be more or less the same.
Théo van Rysselberghe
Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926) is one of the most important figures in the field of Neo-impressionism. Van Rysselberghe was a founding member of the Brussels-based Neo-Impressionist group known as Les XX.
When the members of this artists circle organised a major exhibition of Neo-Impressionists in 1887, Van Rysselberghe met Signac and the two became friends. Rysselberghe had already discovered Seurat's work the previous the previous year in Paris and at the ti me of the exhibiti on he himself was beginning to experiment with Impressionist technique and the decomposition of light and colour, adopting a bright and luminous palette as a result.
Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat bought work by him and he introduced the new styles of Divisionism and Pointillism in Belgium and the Netherlands. After 1903, his pointillist technique, which he had used for so many years, became more relaxed and after 1910 he abandoned it completely. His strokes had become longer and he used more often vivid colours and more intense contrasts, or softened hues. He had become a master in applying light and heat in his paintings.
Saint-Clair in the south of France was Théo van Rysselberghe ‘s home for the last decade of his life. Here he came to settle definitively in 1916 in an art-deco apartment designed by his brother, the architect Octave van Rysselberghe (1855-1929).
The blossoming almond trees in the surroundings of Saint-Clair captivated the artist and it was a subject to which Van Rysselberghe returned throughout his career. It proved to be the perfect setting, with the dappled sunlight filtering through the delicate blooms, to demonstrate his enduring interest in rendering light and colour.
Les amandiers en fleur is a perfect example of the master's skills to paint the blooming almond trees. The blossom of the trees sparkles in the sun. The pines behind the almonds contrast
beautiful with the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. A marvellous view of the surroundings of Saint-Clair so typical for Van Rysselberghe in this period.
Théo van Rysselberghe, The Hague Galerie Esher Surrey 1920, no. 27.
Retrospective Théo Van Rysselberghe, Gent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent 1962, no. 139.