Let’s call this Flashback Friday, with this post from eight years ago today.
For me travel is about discovery: New places, new things, new people. Vacation is about rest and relaxation. Five countries in four weeks in July 2014 was definitely travel.
In Ypres, as I have mentioned, admission to the In Flanders Fields Museum includes admission to a number of smaller museums. These are places I might not have discovered otherwise that turned out to be well worth the investment of time.
One of the featured locations is the Stedelijk Museum, the Municipal Museum of Ypres, which is located in the former St. John’s Almshouse. The building is notable in that it is one of the few in the city not to have been completely destroyed during the First World War.
The museum tells the story of Ypres through old paintings and drawings (and some artifacts of course) but what stood out for me most was the art gallery. Now, I am not noted for spending a lot of time in galleries looking at pictures. I make it to Canada’s National Gallery once every couple of years or so, but that is about it. I like art, but have no wall space left, so I avoid temptation. But we had paid for this gallery, and we had the time, so we took an hour and checked it out. It was a smart move.
Prominently featured was a Belgian artist I had never heard of who came originally from Ypres. I was struck by her paintings and looked her up that evening. Louise De Hem died in 1922, long before my time, at the age of 55. Something about her use of colour, light and composition stood out for me. The people in her pictures seemed alive and vibrant.
I took a few photos of the paintings, which I am sharing with you here. In hindsight I realize I should have taken the time and taken a shot of each picture on display. I was thinking like a tourist though, just trying to capture a bit of the museum experience that I could use as an aide-memoire when looking back at the trip. I wasn’t thinking like an art connoisseur. Fortunately Louise De Hem turns out to be fairly well known, which means that there are many reproductions of her paintings available online for those who care to look.