10 Nov 12 at 11 am

Jules Schmalzigaug - Untitled (Colour + movement study) & preparatory sketch (~1915)

"The Light - that gift from the Sun - was his philosopher’s stone. He had wanted to grab it, to capture it; to reflect the sparkle and the magic to make everything he painted more beautiful, because the light is movement, it is life." With these words, in 1917, Baron Francis Delbeke summarised his deceased friend Jules Schmalzigaug’s fascination for the light. Throughout his contacts with the artistic and scientific currents of his time, Schmalzigaug was continuously looking for a personal way to translate the light into colour onto canvas.

His acquaintance with the work of the Italian Futurists, including that of Robert Delaunay, sharpend Schmalzigaug’s interest in color. The determining factor in his continuing research, however, appears to have been the reading of Ogden Rood’s Modern Chromatics, in which the American physicist made a distinction between luminosity and mattes and pointed to possible color changes under the influence of the light absorption of different materials.

During his enforced stay in the Netherlands on account of the First World War, a sunlit Hague street flanked by a row of trees became the theme of a balancing act between the muted light of matted colours, and brighter contrasting colours.


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