Vincent’s (surviving) correspondence with Theo begins. Theo has just stayed with Vincent for a few days in The Hague and unknowingly sees his brother at work in the job he will have in a few years.
Vincent visits the auction of books which took place from 21 to 29 October 1872 at the premises of W.P. van Stockum.
Mid-August – mid-October
Vincent visits the Salon in Brussels:
The Société Libre des Beaux-Arts (“Free Society of Fine Arts”) was an organization formed in 1868 by Belgian artists to react against academicism and to advance Realist painting and artistic freedom. Based in Brussels, the society was active until 1876, by which time the aesthetic values it espoused had infiltrated the official Salon. It played a formative role in establishing avant-gardism in Belgium.
The first exhibition of the Free Society was held in 1868 to provide an alternative art space beyond the Salon. Three exhibitions were held in 1872. The society’s manifesto was written by Camille Van Camp and published 31 January 1869. It promoted the “free and individual interpretation of nature” characteristic of Realist art, along with avant-garde concepts such as “struggle, change, freedom, progress, originality and tolerance.”
The society published the periodicals L’Art Libre, a bi-monthly review (1871–72), and L’Art Universel (1873–76). In the first issue of L’Art Libre, they collectively asserted:
“Artistic independence must be spawned by force. It is our desire that art be free. The art of our time must return to man and nature.”
The goals of the Free Society were influenced by aesthetic ideals set forth by Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon artists and by the poet Charles Baudelaire. “Modernity” and “sincerity” were keywords. Official cultural critics were at first openly hostile. Two early champions, however, were the critics Camille Lemonnier, a member, who urged that they should “be of their own time,” and Théo Hannon (1851-1916), who saw them as rebels against artificiality.
Spends Christmas in Helvoirt.