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Jean Decoen

(Belgian, 1890-1979)

Le Baiser

white marble
105.9 x 164.1 x 75.9 cm (41¾ x 64⅝ x 29⅞ in.)
signed and dated (on the base)

Private collection, Belgium

A. Hoogewijs, Jean Decoen, Brussels, 1955, pp. 24-27 (illustrated)
E. Radar, Jean Decoen, 1973, pp. 22-24, fig. 6-7 (illustrated)

Brussels, Salon Triennal de Bruxelles, 1914, p. 119, no. 975

“...but there is a work, as you have noticed, that struck me particularly, it is your admirable Baiser. Never, except in Florence, have I ever before seen in marble such emotion translated with so much security, with so much excitement and passion but also with so much tact. These two beings; the robust adolescent with well-marked muscles, the strong athlete and this young woman whose body exaggerates all the grace and beauty contrast greatly yet both are entwined in a very simple gesture that will forever reiterate their love... but here, it is their whole being, each one through their muscles who speaks; the flesh and embrace of their arms, and their faces especially, or if not all of their affection is expressed with an intense but delicious voracity! And their pose that you have chosen is difficult yet easy to portray, this eternal poetry of love, but one looks without fatigue because it is beautiful, it is true... and it is real! I will long remember this authentic masterpiece...” - J. R. Franceaux (E. Radar, op. cit., p. 23, following a visit to Clos du Silence, Jean Decoen’s villa in Knokke, Belgium)

Jean Decoen was born in Brussels on 4th January 1890 and undertook his artistic training at L’Académie de Bruxelles. He became known over the course of his career as a sculptor, art critic and authority on early art as well as being a painter who worked in several different styles depicting various subject matter including portraits, figures, nudes and landscapes. He began his professional career in 1910 showing classical sculptures. He produced some significant works in this medium including the present sculpture Le Baiser and Méditation in marble and La Danseuse in bronze.


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