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Kurt Peiser - Chanson de Satan
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KURT PEISER

Realist, naturalist and communist

1887

Born in Antwerp (Vlaamse Kaai). Son of Jewish Germans. Peiser was a German national but later became a Belgian national.

Studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Later on he develops a sympathy for Marxism and Internationalism.

Works in the studio of navy painter Gerard Jacobs.

Painter, draughtsman, lithographer, etcher (more than 350 etchings and lithographs).

1914

Produces many marine and harbour views and cityscapes, with an eye for poverty and the fringes of society. Portrays the red light district of Antwerp and Brussels. In 1914 his exhibition is shut down by order of the King’s Attorney on the basis that it ‘damages public decency’. Spends three months in Paris.

1920

In 1920 he works in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam and the following year in the Jewish area of London.

A realist with Impressionist and Expressionist tendencies.

1940

Taken from an interview with the artist in 1940: ‘I have sketched the insane. I have studied epileptics. I have wanted to see people die and dying. The primitives have seen people during the great moments of life: death and birth. I want that too.’

1946

From My Little War (1946) by Louis Paul Boon: ‘Between the frozen gate of my allotment alongside the railroad where dead trains stood, and along the water where the dead boats lay, but where the young stevedores still seemed to hang with their arms over the edge like Kurt Peiser taught them, and alongside the factories where around the back it stank of war-or- no-war – you’d say how is it possible that yarns or blankets or glucose or nylon can come out at the front not stinking – up to the entrance of the hospital: it was already dead and stiff because it was the winter of Stalingrad.’

1929

Retrospective at the prestigious Brussels Georges Giroux gallery, who also Wouters, de Brabantse fauvisten en figuren als Kandinsky of de gebroeders Jespers steunt. supported the work of Rik Wouters, the Brabant Fauves and the likes of Kandinsky and the Jespers brothers.

1962

Dies in Ukkel (Brussels).