1970 Airbrush on canvas

1970 Airbrush on canvas

It is the privilege of the International Museum
of Art and Science to mount an exhibition of
the prints of Hugo de Clercq. This renowned
Belgian Constructivist artist’s works have been
acquired for the collections of some of the
most illustrious museums in the world including
the Museum of Fine arts Ghent, the Nederlandse
Kunststichting and the Musée George
Pompidou. His works have been widely exhibited
in France, Germany, Yougoslavia, Japan,
Uruguay, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United
States and his native Belgium.
Hugo de Clercq made important contributions
to the development of Post-War art in Europe.
His work is understood to be in dialog with the
aesthetics of the Swiss and Scandinavian Constructivists.
But unlike some of the more dogmatic
elements of that movement, de Clercq
also references the more expressive qualities
of gestural abstraction. The prints on exhibit
at the International Museum of Art and Science
re! ect this combination of elementalism and
gesturalism. Executed in black and white,
his calligraphic line imparts a gravity to his simple
compositions that invoke a Zen-like aesthetic
contemplation.
This Hugo de Clercq exhibition is part of the
International Museum of Art and Science’s ongoing
initiative to build stronger ties with the
Flemish community worldwide by highlighting
the impressive contributions of Belgian artists.
We are grateful to the artist Mark Cloet for
having brought these prints to our attention
and having made them available for exhibition.
We are also grateful to the Hugo, Foundation
for its generous support and cooperation.
Joseph Bravo
Executive Director

 

The Mission of the International Museum of
Art & Science (IMAS) is to promote a deeper
appreciation for the arts and sciences through
its exhibitions, cultural events and educational
programs; and to preserve expand and display
its permanent art and science collections.
IMAS was developed through the efforts of the
McAllen Junior League to increase the quality
of life for the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley,
and to provide activities in the arts and sciences
that are meaningful, educational, and available
to the public.The museum was chartered
under the laws of the state of Texas on June 2,
1967, and granted its tax exemption certi" cate
in August of that year. On October 7, 1968, the
Junior League Museum Board entered into a
leaning agreement with the City of McAllen for
a 5,000 square foot building. Shortly after, a
Board of Trustees was appointed and by-laws
were adopted. The initial funding came from
donations by local business " rms, civic organizations,
and individuals. An Executive Director
was employed in June 1969, and building renovations
were completed. IMAS was dedicated
and formally opened to the public on October
26, 1969.
Today, IMAS serves more than 70,000 visitors,
including 12,000 school children, and consistently
brings in internationally acclaimed artists
and world-class traveling exhibits that elevate
educational and cultural opportunities for
the region. The museum is 1 of 40 museums
in Texas to be fully accredited by the American
Alliance of Museums (AAM) and is the only
Smithsonian Af" liated Museum south of San Antonio.
The International Museum of Art & Science
serves both sides of the Mexican-American
border, more than 5 counties, and a population
of about 1.2 million.
Gaby Jones
Director of Marketing

Searching for Form

We would like to begin by the end, a photograph.
It is a portrait of the couple De Clercq, the
last one we are told, Hugo with Jeanneke in
a ! ower garden. He stands upright behind the
chair in which his wife is sitting down. She may
be called here without hesitation the “Flemish
Femininity” in person, there is no better word
for her charm. Her head is framed by the powerful
arms of her husband in his overalls. Involuntarily
Rubens’ double-portrait comes to our
mind, the painter with Isabella Brant in a honeysuckle
bush: the young couple had just married
and is very elegantly dressed. Not so in the
photograph, the models are much older and in
a weekday or work dress, but the bond of love
is no less palpable, certainly ... Hugo’s face is
intriguing; is he present or lost in thought, it is
dif" cult to determine. Life has left its furrows
in his skin, a remarkable high-relief, sharply
cut like a woodcut from a primitive age. Under
the vigorous locks the forehead and cheeks are
like a plowed " eld, under the skin the bones
are like stones in the earth; eyes like deep
wells not without secrets; a mouth that would
have so much to say, but remains silent with
a kind of in" nite indulgence. Here, everything
is said.
Sculpture or engraving, painting or drawing,
sensual or strict, manual or visual, black or
white, positive or negative, abstraction or illusion,
form or re! ection, matter or spirit ...
those are the words, some of the word pairs
that frame Hugo’s artistic achievement. They
situate the artist in his time. But Hugo was not
a man of words; that is what his portrait whispers
in our ears. A doer, he was, more than a
talker, and if he had a philosophy, it was that
of his hands. Learned words, roaring words,
rich, ambiguous, well found, pretentious,
poetic, obscure words ... The ! ourishing and
! owery rhetoric of his era did not attract him,
made him smile at most. He preferred above
the noise of words the silence of the pencils,