Lot 413
  • 413

CONSTANT PERMEKE | Les Ostendaises

100,000 - 150,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Constant Permeke
  • Les Ostendaises
  • oil on canvas
  • 133 x 160 cm; 52 3/8 x 63 in.
  • Painted in 1920.


Artist's studio, Jabbeke
Tony Herbert, Kortrijk (acquired directly from the artist in the early 1950s)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten; The Hague, Gemeentemuseum; Hasselt, Aande Toren; Ostend, Kursaal; Groningen, Museum van Stad en Ommelanden; Charleroi, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Verzameling Tony Herbert, 1957, no. 56, illustrated (titled Vrouwen uit Oostende)
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Retrospective Constant Permeke, 1959, no. 159
Luxemburg, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Collection Tony Herbert, 1963-64, ill. 32, illustrated in black and white, no. 43
Knokke-Heist, Casino, Hulde aan/Hommage à Permeke, 1975, illustrated p. 38 (titled Femmes d'Ostende/Vrouwen uit Oostende)
Ostend, Provinciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Retrospective Permeke, 1987, no. 52, illustrated p. 33
Eindhoven, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, De Verzameling Tony Herbert, 1999, illustrated p. 33
Deurle, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, The Tony Herbert Collection: Jean Brusselmans, Gust De Smet, Constant Permeke, Edgard Tytgat, Frits Van den Berghe, Rik Wouters, 2011, illustrated p. 81


Roger Avermaete, Permeke, Brussels, 1970, illustrated p. 65

Catalogue Note

A leading figure of expressionism, Permeke was influenced by Emile Claus’s art, and started to spend time with Gustave and Leon de Smet, Frits Van den Berghe and Albert Servaes in 1905. Often considered one of the most authentic artists of his time, Permeke magnified human beings, drawing inspiration from  the workers, peasants and fishermen he knew from having grown up in Ostend, Belgium. Always searching for the meaning of life, he created intuitive and meaningful artworks. Founded on a dark palette of colors as well as a thick and often rough pictorial touch, his technique echoes the difficult and austere life of his models, to which he dedicated his art. Permeke’s work resonates with the avant-garde movements that spread in Europe before, during and after World War I. The monumental Oostendse Vrouwen (Women of Ostend) (1920) perfectly illustrates the diverse influences which premeate Permeke’s art. Inspired by European and Parisian avant-garde circles from the 1910s and 1920s, the faces of these four well-dressed women reveal his interest in African art.  Permeke owned several African artworks which he kept in his studio. Similarly, his bodies and faces possess a type of sculptural angularity which recalls Modigliani’s female figures.

In this monumental composition, the protagonists represented in close frames acquire an archetypal dimension and a universal meaning. In manner which recalls most of his other compositions, the artist uses simple daily scenes to evoke humanity in general and create his particular form of  timeless artworks.