Théo van Rysselberghe
Théo van Rysselberghe was born in Ghent. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in that city before moving to Brussels for further study. In 1882 he won a travel scholarship which enabled him to visit Spain and Morocco. After returning from his travels he met, in 1883, the poet Emile Verhaeren who became a lifelong friend. He was a founding member of Les XX and was later instrumental in inviting such artists as Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh to exhibit at Les XX.
Whistler (who exhibited at Les XX in 1884) and the Impressionists (Monet and Renoir exhibited at Les XX in 1886) were among those who influenced his early work. But the seminal event of his artistic life came in 1886 when he saw Seurat’s A Sunday on the Grande Jatte in Paris after which van Rysselberghe became an enthusiastic convert to Seurat’s methods. In 1889 one of his first Neo-Impressionist portraits Alice Sèthe was exhibited at Les XX. His work became popular in Austria and Germany and he exhibited in Berlin and later at the Vienna Secession in 1899. During the 1890’s van Rysselberghe explored aspects of the decorative arts producing catalogue covers and posters as well as jewellery, stained glass and murals for Siegfried Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau gallery in Paris.
He often travelled to the south of France to visit his close friends Paul Signac in St Tropez and Henri-Edmond Cross. In 1911 he moved permanently to the Côte d’Azur. He died in 1926 and was buried at Le Lavandou close to the Cross’s grave.