Subscribe to our newsletter


Knight Raveel

Knight Raveel - Lyklema Fine Art

Roger Henri Kamiel Raveel (Machelen-aan de Leie 1921 – 2013 Deinze) was a Flemish post-expressionist painter and creator of ceramics and art objects. He is associated with pop art and rightfully stands among the greatest Flemish artists.

Raveel received his initial academic training in Deinze and Ghent. His teachers included Hubert Malfait and Jos Verdegem. Until 1948, he painted in the tradition of his predecessors before discovering his own artistic language and viewing things in a different light.

Insights from physics and new technical developments offered him a different perspective on the world. He aimed to make this new worldview visible in his art, resulting in a unique and distinctive form and content. In 1948, he founded the group La Relève with Jan Burssens, Kamiel D'Havé, and Pierre Vlerick. Through his friend Hugo Claus, he became acquainted with painters from the Cobra group such as Karel Appel and Corneille in the early 1950s. However, he chose to pursue a different path with his painting, evolving towards a more abstract style rooted in the experience of the organic, vegetative, and animal.

In 1962, he painted the triptych 'Neerhof' with a cage containing a live dove in the center, integrating the artwork into reality for the first time.

During the 1960s, he emerged as a leading figure of the new figuration movement, alongside Raoul De Keyser, Etienne Elias, and the Dutch artist Reinier Lucassen. The abstractness of Piet Mondrian and the expressionism of Vincent van Gogh were sources of inspiration for the emergence of the painting style known as the 'new vision.' The cellar fresco in the Castle of Beervelde in 1966, created with these friends, marked an early peak of the 'new vision,' alongside the Dulcia project in Zottegem in 1969. Following these paintings, he produced a number of painted objects such as 'Illusion Group' and 'Garden with a cart to transport the sky.' His environmental consciousness led him to initiatives such as 'The Swans of Bruges' and 'Raveel on the Leie' (1971).

Raveel's style is characterized by a blend of abstract and figurative painting. For example, in the image of a typical Flemish rural backyard with clotheslines and concrete walls, there might be a completely white square (almost a trademark of Raveel and not observable in nature). These white areas actually represent voids, absence, or perception of light. He conveyed movement by painting spots, as a moving object cannot be depicted with a sharp image of it. In his world, a shadow could be white, like the shadow of a table leg in the color lithograph 'Table with coffee pot' (1970). In some works, Raveel incorporated real objects into the painting: wooden bedposts in 'Memories of my mother's deathbed' (1965), even a cage with a live dove in 'Neerhof with a live dove' (1962). Occasionally, Raveel also created three-dimensional objects, such as the cubic 'Cart to transport the sky' or white wooden swans for the canals in Bruges. Frequently recurring elements include the bicycle cart, the poles, the concrete wall, the striped figure with a cap, and the lined earth. Raveel allowed the painting to 'merge' with the environment. The world between the abstract and the concrete is often present. Roger Raveel's work is full of contradictions and disruptive elements that undermine the unity of the painting and challenge the viewer's position towards the artwork.

For his artistic endeavors and contribution to art history, Roger Raveel received honorable mentions in the Prize for Young Belgian Painting (1958 and 1960) and an award in the Europa Prize (1962), the International Joost vanden Vondel Prize (1983), the Golden Medal of Honor of the Flemish Council (1992), the noble title of Knight (1995), and the Van Acker Prize (1996). From 1960 to 1973, Raveel himself taught at the Deinze Academy.

In 1984, for example, 33 prints of his Genesis were published, accompanied by 33 corresponding poems by Hugo Claus. He also created numerous ceramics. There is a Roger Raveel museum in his 'own' village; highly recommended and worth a visit. Many of the images below were borrowed from their site.

Zijn vrouw en muze Zulma
1949 Palen en muurtjes
1952 Gele mannetje
1962 Het venster
1974 Zelfportret
2004 Zelma op de rug en zijn vader 
Previous Article Next Article