Zeemeermin [Mermaid]

Paul Joostens


Painting, 124 x 104.5 cm.
Materials: oil, paper

Collection: Collection Ronny Van de Velde, Antwerp.

Cubist and futurist elements begin to appear in Joostens’ work beginning in 1916. The mermaid in this painting has nothing of the idyllic; she does not lie seductively on a fairy-like beach but sits like a mechanical being in an urban decor. Perhaps behind a window in the red-light district. The subdued tones, the constructivist color-planes and the melding of figure and background indeed refer to a post-cubist classicism such as Van Ostaijen championed, but ultimately it is Joostens’ complex relationship with women that leads him to the motif of the artificial woman taking up an inviting pose.

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