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Van Der Smissen Leo

Dendermonde 1900 – 1966 Bruges

Bruges School

End of Autumn in Bruges – Gruuthusebrug

Signature: Signed bottom left and dated 1935
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image size 101,50 x 121 cm

Van der Smissen Leo was born in Dendermonde on June 20, in 1900. He lived in Bruges, and he was a Belgian painter and one of important Bruges School artists. His brother Frans Van der Smissen (1894-1964) was a sculptor.

Leo was a painter of town views, sturdy of trees, landscapes, church interiors, still lifes, marines, interiors, portraits, and some nudes. He acts as a colourist, who practices sobriety. His preference, woodland scenes, a genre in which he has climbed to a solid refinement, particularly specific are the depiction of the tree trunks.

His works, brushed concisely and boldly, betray a strong hand that bends the colour ranges to his will and he can adapt to all kinds of subjects.

Leo studied at the Bruges Academy of Fine Arts (1913 – 1919) with master teacher and artist Flori Van Acker and won several first prizes there. He studied also at Ghent Academy of Fine Arts (1920 – 1921) with master teachers Godron and Karel Tremerie and later at Dendermonde Academy of Fine Arts (1923 – 1924).

Initially strongly influenced by the style of Courtens and the Dendermonde School, under the guidance of painter Ferdinand Willaert he evolved towards to Luminism.

In 1930 Leo was married and had three daughters, two children died in early age. Leo van der Smissen died in Bruges on November 16, 1966.

He lived in poor conditions but worked and left behind an extensive oeuvre of powerful painted canvases.


G. Michils, De Brugse School, Bruges, 1990

M. Van Coppenolle, Figuren uit het Brugsche, 1936

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