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(1930 – 2012), Belgium

Raoul De Keyser Biography

For nearly fifty years, Raoul De Keyser (1930–2012) created subtly evocative paintings and works on paper which appear at once straightforward and cryptic, abstract and figurative. Composed of basic but indefinable shapes and marks, his works often invoke spatial and figural illusions, though they remain elusive of any descriptive narrative. Despite—or precisely because of—their sparse gesturing, De Keyser’s works convey a grandeur that inspires prolonged contemplation. Individually as well as collectively, his works revolve around the activity of painting, but also move beyond its physical means to become more than the sum of their parts. Their apparent simplicity belies a lengthy gestation period, which is guided largely by intuition, rather than by following a pre-existing plan.

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De Keyser was born in 1930 in Deinze, Belgium. Since 1999, his work has been represented by David Zwirner. Previous solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York include include Drift, 2016, which was first on view at David Zwirner, London, Freedom, 2011, Terminus: Drawings, 1979-1982, and Recent Paintings, 2009, Recent Work, 2006, Remnants, 2003, and Come on, play it again, 2001. In 2018, a major retrospective of the artist's work will be presented by the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent.

Since the mid-1960s, the artist's work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions at prominent institutions. In 2000, a large-scale retrospective was presented at The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, which traveled to the Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia and The Renaissance Society  at the University of Chicago. A major survey of the artist’s paintings traveled extensively from 2004 and 2005 to the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Musée de Rochechouart, France; De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; and the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland.

In 2009, his paintings were exhibited in a retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany and his watercolors were presented jointly at the Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. Other venues that have hosted important solo exhibitions over the past decade include the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent, 2001; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium, 2002; Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek, Deinze, Belgium, 2007; Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 2008; De Loketten, Flemish Parliament, Brussels, 2011; Museum van Deinze en de Leiestreek, Deinze, Belgium, 2013; and the Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2015.

Work by the artist is held in permanent collections worldwide, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent; among numerous others.

Text courtesy David Zwirner.

Raoul De Keyser Featured Artworks

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Overflow by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserOverflow, 2012Oil, gesso on canvas mounted on wooden panel
30.1 x 22.1 cm
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Tornado by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserTornado, 1981Oil on canvas
36 x 36 cm
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Hal 8 by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserHal 8, 1985Oil on canvas
60 x 50 cm
Sold
Zeno X Gallery
Rests by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserRests, 2007Acrylic and gesso on canvas
56 x 71 cm
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De voltooide onvoltooide by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserDe voltooide onvoltooide, 2009–2010Gesso, acrylic, charcoal on canvas
44 x 34.3 cm
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Untitled (The mirror of ...) by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserUntitled (The mirror of ...), 1988Oil on canvas
70 x 50 cm
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Crook by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserCrook, 2007Oil on canvas
130 x 190 cm
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Tornado by Raoul De Keyser contemporary artwork
Raoul De KeyserTornado, 1981Oil on canvas
50 x 40.2 cm
Sold
Zeno X Gallery

Raoul De Keyser Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, Group Show at Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Closed
23 January–23 February 2019 Group Show Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Works On Paper I at Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Closed
17 January–24 February 2018 Group Exhibition Works On Paper I Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Contemporary art exhibition, Raoul De Keyser, Drift at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
18 March–23 April 2016 Raoul De Keyser Drift David Zwirner, 20th Street, New York

Raoul De Keyser Represented By

Raoul De Keyser In Ocula Magazine

Taipei Dangdai 2020: Local and Global Ocula Report Taipei Dangdai 2020: Local and Global By Penny Liu, Taipei

At the second edition of Taipei Dangdai, western capital gestures towards Taipei's rising status in the global art world, while alluding to 'a token blessing from the West to Taiwanese society, which is known to have a strong collector base.'

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Raoul De Keyser In Related Press

Art Brussels announces details of Discovery, Rediscovery and Solo sections Related Press Art Brussels announces details of Discovery, Rediscovery and Solo sections 9 April 2016, Art Fix Daily

From April 21 to 24, the 34th edition of Art Brussels will take place in a new location, Tour & Taxis, a spectacular example of industrial architecture built in 1904, formerly a customs house. This year, the fair has been reduced in size, bringing together 141 galleries from 28 countries, represented in three main sections: PRIME, DISCOVERY and...

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Tightrope walk: the show that sums up art in 67 paintings Related Press Tightrope walk: the show that sums up art in 67 paintings 2 December 2015, The Guardian

They are small things, clustered in an order that is like an interrupted thought. Hung just as they were in his studio, Raoul De Keyser’s last paintings now occupy a wall at David Zwirner gallery in London. De Keyser died in 2012 at the age of 82. A few marks, some strange bent shapes; some are barely paintings at all. One has a small...

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