Bram Bogart

Rye Summer


Not on display

Bram Bogart 1921–2012
Original title
Mixed media paint on canvas attached to board
Support: 2020 × 2017 mm
Presented anonymously in honour of the artist Bram Bogart 2014


Rye Summer 1963 is a square abstract painting by the Dutch born Belgian artist Bram Bogart. Almost entirely yellow, it is composed of one thick horizontal stroke along the top of the painting and four vertical strokes beneath. The four vertical lines, in slightly different shades of yellow, are thickly applied, as if a large amount of paint was deposited and pushed up and down the canvas with a palette knife. In the gap between the two left-hand lines an area of red is visible; a thinner, white impasto line appears above the centre-right line; as do small areas of green and brown between and below the two central lines.

Rye Summer is typical of the thickly applied impasto painting and bright colours for which Bogart is most well-known. These characteristics first began to dominate his practice in the early 1960s following his move to Brussels and his shift to working with the canvas flat on the floor. After his move to Brussels in 1961, Bogart acknowledged that his use of paint became different, his colours more intense and the paint thicker. He used wider brushes and each stroke of paint revealed the broad brush that applied it. The composition is predominantly yellow and this, plus the title and the implied horizon dividing the work, suggests the vivid yellow and visible brushstrokes that characterise the images of ripe cornfields by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), one of Bogart’s most important and enduring influences.

Bogart began making his first oil paintings in 1939, having worked as a decorator and painter of cinema advertising, and went on to study at the Academy of Fine Art in The Hague. His early influences included the work of Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) and the Belgian expressionist Constant Permeke (1886–1952), and in Paris he got to know both Antoni Tapies (1912–2012) and Alberto Burri (1915–1995). In 1955 he saw an exhibition of American art held in Frankfurt in 1955 and another in Paris in 1959, through which he became familiar with the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Barnett Newman. These influences inform works such as Threatened Cockerel 1956 (Tate T14201) in its highly gestural near-abstract approach to its figurative subject. Moving from Paris to Rome and then back to Belgium, Bogart’s work went through a number of successive shifts, from early figuration to gesturalism and eventually to a thickly applied surface of pure and dense colour in works such as Rye Summer and the monochrome White Plane White 1974 (Tate T14202). Through constant experimentation, he developed a distinctive style of painting that nevertheless continually responded to his central preoccupation with the materiality of paint and its application on the picture plane.

Further reading
Bram Bogart: Retrospectief, exhibition catalogue, interview by W. Van den Bussche, PMMK, Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende 1995.
Marcel Paquet, Bram Bogart, Paris 1998.
Sam Cornish, Bram Bogart, exhibition catalogue, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London 2011.

Tanya Barson
January 2014
Arthur Goodwin
March 2019

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

You might like