"November 11, 1881. A heavy and cold fog covers Belgium and the North of France: I can't wait to reach the border of the land of the sun, the Mediterranean." Fragment of a trip to India and Ceylon"
After exploring southern Europe and North Africa to escape the harsh Belgian winters, Jean Robie undertook a long journey through India in 1881-1882. This journey gave birth to several paintings full of life, generally small in size, which, even today, have lost none of their intensity. A talented writer, Robie describes his observations in a picturesque manner in a fascinating story: Fragment of a Journey to India and Ceylon, published in two volumes in 1883 and 1885. He devotes several chapters to his boat crossing to India, tiger hunting during his stay in the jungle as well as his numerous visits to historic cities. His writings bear witness to the enthusiastic and curious look of a Western globetrotter on this fascinating and complex country. He tells us about his customs, his daily customs and his colorful celebrations. The exhibition offers a unique anthology of this journey, presenting a few selected pieces of his stories, which weave a unique dialogue with sketches, paintings, photos - of striking clarity - and authentic objects from the “Indian Museum ”, formerly installed at the painter's home, Chaussée de Charleroi. By taking the road to India, Robie followed in the footsteps of some eminent figures, who were at the source of Indomania in Belgium, such as the artist-ethnographer Frans-Balthasar Solvyns, King Leopold II, who was at the search for a colony in Asia or, again, Eugène Goblet d'Alviella, professor of history of religions. Following Robie, the impressionist painter Guillaume Van Strydonck also sought the clear light and splendor of Indian colors. His orientalist works will be taken out of the museum’s reserves for the event.
"I will never forget in my life the graceful paintings that I glimpsed in these charming hours! Looking through these collected notes today hastily, I feel seized by an ardent desire to see India again; for just one of these mornings, I would do the whole trip again".
Some paintings and travel photos... The rest can be discovered at the Charlier Museum!
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