Mu.ZEE owns an important part of Constant Permeke's oeuvre. Two hundred works, paintings, almost the entire sculptural oeuvre and a considerable number of large drawings are distributed between Mu.ZEE in Ostend and the artist's former home and studio in Jabbeke.
Constant Permeke (1886-1952) can be considered one of the great representatives of Flemish Expressionism and is an important figure in Belgian art history.
His Self-portrait from 1928-1936 was in urgent need of restoration: the paint layer came off, causing large paint clumps to rise and pieces of paint to be loose. Before restoring the work, it was not unimportant to investigate the cause of the release of the paint layer. The researchers also wondered whether the painting had always been so dark.
An investigation was launched in 2013 with the support of the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund and in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation. In addition to the Self-Portrait, 12 other paintings by Permeke with a comparable dark paint layer from the same period (1920-1940) were examined. Small samples were taken from all these works and the pigments and binders used were analyzed using various techniques.
The result of the research can now be seen in Permeke in layers, a collection presentation, which can first be seen in Mu.ZEE in Ostend and then in the Permeke Museum in Jabbeke. Such projects allow a better understanding of how an artist, such as Permeke, worked.