BRAM BOGART: 60'S PAINTINGS – Vigo Gallery, London

22 March - 14 April 2022
Vigo Gallery

On his Centenary Vigo is proud to present a group of Bram Bogart’s early sixties paintings. Bram Bogart, 1921–2012, dedicated his career to exploring the materiality of paint, building three dimensional paintings made with his own concoctions of oil, glue, pigment, powdered chalk, and water.


His investigation into the sculptural possibilities of paint led him to use increasingly thick layers, to create nuanced textural surface, exploring balance and disorder, tension and calm, two- and three-dimensionality, colour and structure.


In this exhibition of early sixties paintings Vigo will exhibit rare works by this historically important artist sourced over the last five years from private collections. There will be a subsequent show based on works made from 63-65 in Ohain.


1960 was an important breakthrough for Bogart as it was the last year he was able to use stretched canvas before the paint became too heavy requiring thereafter the use of reinforced wooden supports. It marks a turning point and works such as Balloon Show1960 and Luna Mistenguet 1960 are important in understanding what was to come. 


From mid 1961 on, Bogart starts to paint on the floor and the works begin to look like his hero and fellow countryman Van Gogh’s brush strokes enlarged a thousand fold. This golden period lasts until about 1965 producing some of his most outstanding contributions to the history of painting. 


Bogart refused to be pigeon holed into any school or grouping and was an artists’ artist, exchanging works with his contemporaries Schoonhoven and Fontana and still influencing contemporary artists today. Where Fontana broke the plane by slashing and gauging, Bogart, more than any other pushed outwards towards the viewer, using paint as a sculptural medium. As a young man his heroes were Rembrandt, Permeke and Van Gogh, and later on inspiration came from Mondrian and Van Der Leck. This lineage of lowland painters is very much evident in Bogart’s work. 


Belgium’s representative at the 1971 Venice Biennale and subject of dozens of museum shows internationally, Bogart’s work can be found in many major collections. Following the acquisition of four works in 2014 by Tate Modern, the work is finding a new audience and currently his centenary is being marked with a retrospective at Prinsenhof Museum in his hometown of Delft. White Cube now represents the estate of Bram Bogart and so the future looks bright for a broader understanding of the contribution of this magnificent artist. 


Bogart should be remembered as an extremely important historical figure in the canon of abstract painting who throughout relentlessly challenged and explored the sculptural possibilities of paint itself.