Alphonse De Clercq

The Return Of The Priest

Alphonse De Clercq

The Return Of The Priest

This early 20th-century oil painting by Belgian artist Alphonse De Clercq (1868-1945) depicts a priest returning home by moonlight.

The snow-covered roofs of rustic cottages sit slumped in a quiet village. Silence only broken by the shuffling footsteps of two figures heading home towards a welcoming fire. The priest ambles amid an orange glow - with long shadows cast via a moon rendered with impasto.

One gets the sense that De Clercq knew this area with its community spirit, local church and daily routines. It’s interesting to imagine him painting en plein air amid such chilly conditions. With relaxed brushwork, thick paint and weaving lines, he captures a casual mood. The whole piece wanders slowly as our eyes explore the nuances of each sleepy building.

De Clercq is known to have worked in the Kempen region of Belgium.

Signed in the lower right and held within a gilt frame with foliate.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 40½” x 31” / 103cm x 79cm
Year of creation: c. 1900
Condition: Artwork presents well. One patched repair. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £2,876

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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