Les XX

Para-Impressionism: Other exhibitions

Les XX

Independant group exhibitions in Brussels

1884-1893

 

 

Introduction:
Les XX were also called les Vingt (the twenty) and ‘cercle / groupe / association des XX’ (circle / group / association of 20) (iR26). Les XX was founded 1883/10/28 by art-critic Octave Maus and a group of 11 artists. Later they invited 9 other artists. These artists were opposed to the clichés of official art and formed a groupe of avant-garde artists (R5,p214;iR3). Other artists later joined this groupe of Vingtistas, like Redon, Signac and also Jan Toorop and Henry van de Velde (iR3). Les XX had no president or governing committee. Instead Octave Maus (a lawyer, art-critic and journalist) acted as the secretary.

The exhibitions first were held in the Palais des Beaux Arts (1884 – 86) and later at the Royal Museums of Fine Art (iR3). The exhibitions were held yearly from 1884-93 and held in February and March. Every year also foreign artists were invited, in 1888 16 and in 1889 17 (so not 20 every year as some sources claim (iR3). Among these invited artists there were also partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions. Denvir states that all Impressionists exhibited at these Salons except Caillebotte, but Caillebotte was part of the 1888 exhibition. (R5,p214;iR19;R102,p283). As far as I know Degas didn’t exhibit with Les XX (R47;R26,p13), nor Rouart (R92), nor Boudin, nor Cassatt (R44,p140), nor Zandomeneghi (R204,p398).

There were 32 till 40 participants. In 1883 they showed an average of less than 3 and in 1884 less than 5 art-works. We see later on, that partakers exhibited more works, like Monet 10 paintings in 1886. So in general there were more partakers than at the ‘impressionist’ expositions from 1874-86, but they showed less works per person and probably also per exhibition.

In 1893 of les XX was abolished because of differences of opinion among them. The same year Octave Maux founded ‘la Libre Esthétique’ (R5,p214).

 

Members:
Who were the founding members? Which members continued to exhibit with Les XX? Which artists later became member?
The founding group existed of Frantz Charlet, Paul Du Bois (Dubois), James Ensor, Alfred William (Willy A.)  Finch, Fernand Khnopff, Darío de Regoyos, Willy Schlobach, Théo Van Rysselberghe, Guillaume (-S) Van Strydonck.
Two of the founding members later stopped being a Vingtistes: Charles Goethals (not in 1887 + 88 + 89 + 91);  Rodolphe Wytsman (only affirmed in 1885). There were 9 artists invited, but only Guillaume Vogels stayed a member.
The others stopped being a Vingtistes, some probably in 1885: Jef Lambeaux, Périclès Pantazis, Piet Verhaert. Others probably in 1887: Jean Delvin, Frans (Franz) Simons, Gustave (Guillaume) Vanaise, Theodoor Verstraete. Others probably in 1889: Achille Chainaye.

Other artists later became a Vingtistes. Some (probably) 1885 onwards: Guillaume Charlier, Jan Toorop (R298,p229). Others probably 1887 onwards: Félicien Rops. Others probably 1889 onwards: Auguste Rodin. Others probably 1890 onwards: George Minne (R298,p134). Others probably 1891 onwards: Robert Picard, Paul Signac. (iR3;iR1;R116I,p202+213+225;iR19/R236).

Some sources claim Anna Boch was a member from 1885-93 (iR3), but in 1885 she was not in the catalogue (iR1); it is affirmed that she was a Vingtistes in 1887 + 88 + 89 + 91 (R116I,p202+213+225;iR19/R236;iR3). Some sources mention that Isidore Verheyden was member from 1884-88 (iR1), but he was absent in the 1884 catalogue (iR1), it is affirmed that he was a Vingtistes in 1887 (R116I,p202), but not in 1888 +89 + 91 (iR19/R236;R116I,p213+225;iR3). Some sources claim that Georges Lemmen was a member starting 1888 (iR3), but this is not affirmed by the catalogue (iR19/R236); it is confirmed he was a member in 1889 + 91 (R116I,p213+225). Some sources claim that Henry van de Velde was a member starting 1888 (iR3), but this is not affirmed by the catalogue (iR19/R236); it is affirmed that he was a member in 1889 + 91). Henry De Groux (Henri Degroux) at least was a member from 1887-89, but not in 1891. Some claim Odilon Redon and Georges Minne later became a member (iR3), but this is not confirmed by other sources (R116I,p202+213+225;iR19/236).

 

1884:
1884/02/02 till ? : 1st exhibition.
40 participants showing 113 works.
None of the ‘impressionist’ partakers were present.
Some Dutch landscapists were present, like Josef Israëls, Jacob Maris and Anton Mauve.
Other partakers were: William Chase, Henri Gervex, Max Liebermann, August Rodin, John S. Sargent and James Neill Whistler. (iR1;iR3)

1885:
1885: 2nd exhibition.
37 participants showing 168.
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Félix Bracquemond (showing 6 works), Jean-François Raffaëlli (5 works).
Other participants were: Jean-Charles Cazin, Henri Fatin-Latour and Jan Toorop. (iR1;iR3;R298,p68)

1886:
1886/02/06 – 1886/03: 3rd exhibition.
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Monet (10x, including CR311 + 628 + 634 + 653 +726? + 752 + 797 + 832 / 1053 + 853? + 874), Redon, Renoir (8x). Degas refused to participate. (R5,p148;R22IV,p1017;R31,p302+315;iR3). Denvir writes all works were send in by Durand-Ruel (R5,p148).
Other participants were:

1887:
1887/02/05 – 03/05: Quatrième Exposition annuelle des XX or Exposition Internationale de peinture, de sculpture, de gravure et de dessin, organisé par Les XX in the Ancien Musée royal de peinture (R116I,p202).
With 18 Vingtistes and 19 artistes invités (R116I,p202).
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Lebourg, Morisot, Pissarro (3 works, including CCP827+828), Jean-François Raffaëlli, Seurat (La Grande Jatte + 6 seascapes) (R39,p301;R40,p93;R116I,p202+363;R48,p13;R5,p156;iR3). Some sources mention that Cézanne also participated, but his name was not an the poster (R116I,p202).
Other participants were: Marie Cazin, Rodin, Walter Sickert, F. Thaulow (iR3;R5,p156;R116I,p202).

1888:
1888/02/05 till ?: Ve exposition des XX.
With 16 ‘Vingtistes’ and 16 ‘artistes invités’.
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Caillebotte, Forain (aR4), Guillaumin, Signac.
Other participants were: Louis Anquetin, Jacques-Émile Blanche, Henry Cros (sic), Albert Dubois-Pillet, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Mlle J. (Eva) Gonzalès, James Whistler. (R236/iR19;R39,p325+645;R102,p283;R181II,p609;R106,p419).

1889:
1889/02/02 – 03/05: Sixième exposition annuelle des XX in the Ancien Musée de peinture (R116I,p213).
With 18 ‘Vingtistes’ and 17 ‘artistes invités’ (R116I,p213).
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Félix Bracquemond, Desboutin, Gauguin, Monet (4x?, including CR1087? + 1175 + 1179 + 1181), Pissarro (6 paintings, including CCP464 + 714 + 812 + 850 + 855 + 857 and several etchings), Seurat (12x, including 6 seascapes of Port-en-Bessin). As far as I know CaillebotteCézanne and Redon didn’t participate as some sources indicate (iR3;R5,p168). There names anyway were not on the poster (iR3;R116I,p213).
Other participants were: Albert Besnard, Henri Cross, Luce. Angrand is also mentioned as participant, but his name was not on the poster (iR3;R116I,p213).
(R22IV,p1017;R116I,p213+363;R40,p93;R181;R49,p92;R5,p168;iR3)

1890:
1890/01/17-03: VIIe exposition annuelle des XX.
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Cézanne (3x), Redon (iR3), Renoir (5x), Signac, Sisley (6 works). (R31,p315;R166,p274;R39,p325;R3,p653;R106,p419;R48,p13). Renoir first rejected to participate, later sends in 5 works, but doesn’t visit the exhibition (R31,p304). Some claim Gauguin also exhibited (iR3), but this is not confirmed by other sources (R181;R49)
Other participants were: Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh (6x) (iR3).

1891:
1891/02/08 – 03/08: Huitième Exposition annuelle des XX in the Musée de Peinture (R116I,p225).
The poster mentions 20 Vingtistes, including Signac and 18 Invités (R116I,p225).
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Gauguin, Guillaumin, Camille Pissarro (2 works; CCP883 + 886 and 3 fans hc), Seurat, Signac, Sisley (5 works send by Durand-Ruel) (R116I,p225+363;R166,p274;R106,p419;R124,p565;R49,p92;R5,p180;iR3). Guillaumin hardly was noticed (R3;aR3;R179,p47). According to Budde Gauguin exhibited a wood relief called ‘Soyez amoureuses et vous serez heureuses’ which caust a scandal (R179,p47). Other sources add that he also exhibited 3 vases (iR3). Some sources (R5,p180) mention that Cézanne and Lucien Pissarro also exhibited, but their names were not on the poster (R116I,p225).
Other participants were: Charles Angrand (R116I,p225).
There also was a retrospective of Vincent van Gogh (iR3;R5,p180).

1892:
1892, February: 9e Exposition des XX.
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Cassatt, Signac (R106,p419;R5,p184;iR3). Some claim Pissarro also exhibited (R5,p184), this is not confirmed by other sources (R116I,p363). There also was a retrospective with 18 paintings of Seurat (iR3).
Other participants were: Luce, Toulouse-Lautrec (R5,p184;iR3).

1893:
1893, February: 10e Exposition des XX.
The following ‘impressionist’ partakers were present: Signac (R106,p419).
Other participants were:

 

Sources:
In the Salon database I could find the catalogues of the first exhibition in 1884 (iR1) and the second in 1885 (iR1). On archive.org I could find the catalogue of the 5th exhibition in 1888 (iR19/R236). I couldn’t find other catalogues, anyway not on gallica (iR40). Some sources render posters of 1887 + 89 + 91 (R116I,p202;iR3). Other sources on the participation of artists are: Wildenstein on the participation of Monet in 1886 + 89 (1996=R22IV,p1016/7), Raeburn on the participation of Renoir in 1886 + 90 (1985=R31,p315), Alexandrian on the participation of Seurat in 1887 + 89 (1980=R40,p93), Dony / Braun on the participation of Cézanne in 1887 + 90 (1976=R48,p13), Berhaut on the participation of Caillebotte in 1888 (1994=R102,p283), Cachin on the participation of Signac in 1888 + 90 + 91 + 92 + 93 (R106,p419), Pissarro & Durand-Ruel on the participation of Camille Pissarro in 1887 + 89 + 91 (2005=R116I,p361-370), Serret on the participation of Guillaumin in 1891 (1971=R124,p565), Stevens on the participation of Sisley in 1890 + 91 (1992=R166,p274), Crussard on the participation of Gauguin in 1889 (2002=R181), Huyghe on the participation of Gauguin in 1889 + 91 (1989=R49,p92). Other sources are: Denvir (1993=R5,p214). On the internet: BNF (iR26), Wikipedia (iR3;

 

For further reading:
Bloch, Jane: Les XX and Belgian avant-gardism, 1868-1894. University of Michigan, 1981. (iR19;iR24)

Goddard, Stephen H. (ed.): Les XX and the Belgian avant-garde: prints, drawings, and books, ca. 1890. Catalog of an exhibition at the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, Belgium, Oct. 31-Dec. 12, 1992. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kanses, 1992 (iR19)

Les XX et la Libre Esthétique, cent ans après, [exposition, Bruxelles, Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, 26 novembre 1993 – 27 février 1994]. Bruxelles, 1993 (iR24)

Octave Maus, Madeleine: Trente années de lutte pour l’art 1884-1914, [les XX, 1884-1893, La libre esthétique, 1894-1914]. Bruxelles : librairie l’Oiseau bleu , 1926. (iR24)

Dumont, Françoise: (Gauguin) les XX et la Libre Esthétique, exposition organisée à Liège, salle Saint-Georges du 21 octobre 1994 au 15 janvier 1995. Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1994. (iR24)

 

 

 

Citation: Please do not quote from this webpage, which is under construction. The information is incomplete and maybe partly incorrect.