Visit the Permeke Museum
In the Permeke Museum you will find about eighty paintings, almost his entire sculptural oeuvre and a significant number of drawings by the artist. The studio on the first floor is a special place in the museum, where time has stood still. As a visitor you get the idea that at any moment Permeke will walk back into the room to pick up his paint brush again: dried up tubes of paint, brushes of various size and rags lie scattered on the wooden table under the glass roof, waiting for the master to pick them up again. The exceptional talent displayed by Permeke is immediately apparent when one meanders past the various works of art, such as The Ostend Fisherman (1920), Harvest in Devonshire (1917), Fishermen's Meal (1921), The Harvest (1928), Woman weeding (1931) The Sower (1933), The Sympathisers (1935), Motherhood (1936), The Potato Harvesters (1936), Blue Marine (1947), The Farewell (1948), The Daily Bread (1950), as well as sculptures such as Marie-Lou (undated) The Sower (undated), Self Portrait (1940), Niobe (1946), and Lea (1949-1950). Since it was opened, the Permeke Museum has become a sparkling jewel in the crown of West Flanders cultural heritage, especially following the reconstruction of the gardens and refurbishment of the studio! In addition to the works by Constant Permeke, the museum also displays works of art by his father Henri-Louis Permeke, his son-in-law Pierre Devos and his friends: Frits Van den Berghe, Oscar Jespers, Henri Puvrez and Luc Peire.
Constant Permeke - the man
Constant Permeke (1886-1952) was a leading figure in Flemish Expressionism. He inherited his love for art and painting from his father Henry, who was himself an artist!
Although he was born in Antwerp, he spent much of his life in Ostend. Two elements had a significant influence on the development of his style: on the one hand this was his contacts with artists from Sint-Maartens Latem prior to 1914, such as Frits van den Berghe, Gustave De Smet and especially Albert Servaes; and on the other, his life in the Ostend lighthouse neighbourhood. In 1912 Constant Permeke married his beloved Marietje, Maria Delaere. The couple were blessed with three children. In 1930 they moved to Jabbeke. His work has two major themes: namely "the fisherman and the sea" and "the farmer and the soil." Permeke was unique in his ability to express the relationship between man and nature through his accurate brush strokes and fleshy impasto in dark earth colours. Permeke showed the fisherman and the farmer, struggling with their existence, accepting their fate; dark figures that drag themselves through their gloomy lives and root for happiness. His raw scenes have an immediate emotional charge, beauty with sharp edges and they are, perhaps because of that, so captivating. He only created his first sculpture in 1930, and its central theme is man once again depicted as monumental and majestic in all his frailty.