Denonne, Alexandre (1879-1953)

Denonne, Alexandre (1879-1953)

Every corner of Brussels was carefully crafted into beautifully vivid and elegantly impressionist works by Belgian artist Alexandre Denonne. Working predominantly in the early 20th century, Dennone captures a city blossoming and bursting with life which is complimented by his ebullient depictions of nature.

Dennone received his arts education from many a great artist. His uncle, Victor Lagye (1825-1896), became a guide, as did Constant Montald (1863-1944), a celebrated symbolist artist. As well as studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, Dennone also received tuition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. It was here he derived great inspiration from Henry Luyten (1859-1945).

Influence also came distantly from the works of Jan Gerard Smits (1823-1910). Both of these artists had been compelled by the developments in art in the second half of the 19th century. This saw a move towards naturalism and eventually impressionism, in which looking towards the truth of nature in art was a mightier cause than injecting artifice into a work. Artists painted what they saw, often in situ, outside, and did so with a vivacity of brushstrokes and diffusion of colours which reflected the immediacy of the moment.

Their influence is extremely clear in Denonne’s work. Each painting appears as if a snapshot of the world Denonne saw. With the lively impasto so redolent in impressionism, Denonne captures scenes of city life with washes of colour which complement both each other and the reality of the scenes in front of him. The sandstone hue of buildings is summoned in broad strokes, whilst quicker, agitated mixtures of verdant greens enhance trees and hedgerows. Flowers for sale on a cart burst upwards in quick movements of his brush, lush and healthy. Denonne does not lose a sense of depth or composition in these lively works. Reality becomes perfectly framed for the canvas.

A selection of interior scenes and portraits also remain in which the same impressionist zeal is lent to both mood and execution. Moments of repose and thought are not squandered by Denonne’s active brush but instead emphasised by it, allowing his immediacy to take on a new life. He is able to capture not just the constantly shifting and changing spirit of nature, but of the human mind and condition, as well.

Denonne found praise in exhibitions within Belgium. His work was often described as having an ‘ardent temperament.’ He was also noted as being an art researcher, and a teacher of drawing and art history at the Athénée du Centre. Clearly, he was a man of great artistic knowledge and skill. Today, many of his works can be found in museums across Belgium, including in Antwerp and Tournai.


Born in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Brussels, Belgium.


Exhibited at the Salle Boute, Belgium.


Died in Saint-Gilles, Brussels, Belgium.

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