Paul Delvaux ou les Femmes Défendues


Henri Storck’s short film from 1971 is mostly an overview of Paul Delvaux’s irreducibly mysterious paintings but the first 7 minutes are invaluable for the views they give of the artist at work. I’m always interested in the technical details of painting but these are seldom mentioned in art books which tend to be more concerned with discussions of meaning and artistic intent. So here we see Delvaux sketching, then leafing through a collection of preliminary studies before finally dabbing at a figure on a large canvas in his skull-filled studio.


The rest of the film is taken up with shots that roam over many of the artist’s earlier paintings. I don’t have any books about Delvaux so there are more of his pictures here than I’ve seen in one place, all of them displaying the familiar nocturnal enigmas: somnambulist nudes, trains, moonlight, Classical architecture and so on. The voiceovers, including that of the artist, are in unsubtitled French but the film is available with subtitles as part of a DVD collection of films about Belgian artists and cultural figures directed by Storck and others. One for the shopping list.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Raoul Servais: Courts-Métrages
The mystery of trams
Papillons de Nuit, a film by Raoul Servais
Paul Delvaux: The Sleepwalker of Saint-Idesbald
Ballard and the painters
Taxandria, or Raoul Servais meets Paul Delvaux

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