Starting February 5th: Maurits Ver Elst

Maurits Ver Elst Photo“Maurits Ver Elst Rediscovered:  A Modern Belgian Master.”

18th December 1924, Haacht, Belgium –  27th July 1987, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Timeless works that continue the road of Flemish and Dutch Masters.

Kindly on loan from the Ver Elst family for the benefit of the public.

The Sayle Gallery is pleased to announce that it will be presenting the work of the distinguished Belgian artist Maurits Ver Elst (1924-1987) to a Manx audience at the Gallery during the month of February.  The exhibition is entitled:  “Maurits Ver Elst Rediscovered:  A Modern Belgian Master.”  The exhibition will be on at the Gallery from the 5th to the 28th February inclusive.

The exhibition will introduce the Island’s public to the work of a modern Belgian master, Maurits Ver Elst, who worked in the renowned Flemish realism school of painting practised by generations of artists in Belgium (Flanders) in oils with its use of vibrant colours and technical mastery.

Amongst his distinguished patrons, Maurits Ver Elst was a former Court painter to the Kuwaiti Royal family in the 1960s and painted many portraits of the ruling family including the then Emir of Kuwait.  Sadly, many of these masterly pieces were destroyed in the first Gulf War but fortunately a wide and varied body of work has been preserved by his family and will be on display at the Gallery. Such was the demand for his work during his lifetime, that he rarely held formal gallery exhibitions and his work is mostly held in private collections in Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and the United States.

His artistic practice saw him travel widely together with his family working in many countries including Belgian Congo, Spain, Kuwait, the United States and South Africa.  His reputation as a sensitive portrait painter and technical master ensured his work was in great demand.  His bold, imaginative and vivid depiction of flowers demonstrates a wide range of painterly expression.  The masterful technical command is combined with much looser and vivid explosions of colour, adding to the mood and making them a pleasure to behold. Among the magnificent paintings included in the exhibition are stunning portrait, still-life and landscape paintings.

The exhibition comprises a selection of private and hitherto mostly non-exhibited work held in the late artist’s family collection.  Damian Ciappelli, Chairman of the Sayle Gallery explained:  “The Sayle Gallery has been in discussion for some time regarding the possibility of putting on this important exhibition and we are delighted to have been chosen by the artist’s widow Irena Willems Ver Elst together with the artist’s family to host this important retrospective exhibition.  The Gallery wishes to record its sincere gratitude to both Mrs Willems Ver Elst and the artist’s family for their support and assistance”.

As the thirtieth anniversary of the artist’s death approaches next year, the exhibition is intended to be the first step towards introducing this exceptional artist to modern audiences both on the Island and further afield.

The exhibition will run from Friday 5 February until Sunday 28th February 2016 at the Sayle Gallery, The Colonnade, Harris Promenade, Douglas, Isle of Man.  The works are not for sale.  The Gallery is open between 10.00am – 5.00pm Tuesday to Saturday and 1.30pm – 4.30pm Sunday.

The Sayle Gallery is supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council.

For Further information contact: Sayle Gallery tel 674557, email:


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