As a humanist painter primarily interested in the human condition, Anto Carte was a member of the 'Belgian Imagists' group, alongside artists such as Valerius de Saedeleer and Gustave van de Woestyne, with whom he exhibited in 1923 in Paris. This composition, Les musiciens aveugles, is part of a cycle of works in which Anto Carto featured travelling musicians and musical instruments. He often combined this theme with the subject of the blind, rendering his own vision of the iconography of Bruegel’s The Blind Leading the Blind (1568). It expresses the blind musician’s inner world, his strange, timeless universe and his original creativity. This theme of insight and withdrawal into the self is often found in the work of the Expressionists, who did, in part, influence Anto Carte. In Les musiciens aveugles, Anto Carte draws the viewer’s full attention to the blind musicians’ faces and hands. Regardless of whether he is portraying peasants, labourers, miners, fisherman or street performers, the human figure is central to Anto Carte’s work. By painting men of varying social status, who are shown giving money to a woman carrying a child in the background, he depicts poverty, but also dignity and solidarity. This painting reveals Anto Carte’s propensity for audacious compositions; he often used particularly innovative perspectives and points of view. The precision of the drawing, the smooth texture of the paint which has been handled with great care, and the rich chromatic symphonies are all characteristic of the work of this artist, who became the founder of the Groupe Nervia (1928-1938). Anto Carte’s technique involves the precise use of line which makes the figures’ silhouettes stand out, thus giving rise here to a poignant expressivity. The monumental figures in the foreground, the original perspective and stylized volumes are particularly characteristic of the refinement of Anto Carte’s art, which seems to endow this scene with a sense of timelessness.
The canvas is not lined. There is an uneven varnish preventing UV light from fully penetrating, however examination under UV light appears to reveal dots and lines of retouching towards the lower edge, some dots of retouching towards the centre of the upper edge and a few scattered tiny dots of retouching. There are webs of thin lines of craquelure throughout the composition. There is some minor frame abrasion. This work is in overall good condition. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."