Luc Tuymans (Belgian, b. 1958) is considered one of the most significant European painters of his generation and has been an enduring influence on younger and emerging artists. Born and raised in Antwerp, where he lives and works, Tuymans is an inheritor to the vast tradition of Northern European painting. At the same time, as a child of the 1950s, his relationship to the medium is understandably influenced by photography, television, and cinema.
Interested in the lingering effects of World War II on the lives of Europeans, Tuymans explores issues of history and memory, as well as the relationship between photography and painting, using a muted palette to create canvases that are simultaneously withholding and disarmingly stark. Drawing on imagery from photography, television, and film, his distinctive compositions make ingenious use of cropping, close-ups, framing, and sequencing, offering fresh perspectives on the medium of painting, as well as larger cultural issues.
The artist’s more recent work approaches the post-colonial situation in the Congo and the dramatic turn of world events after 9/11. These series have led Tuymans to a sustained investigation of the realms of the pathological and the conspiratorial.
Luc Tuymans is coorganized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Wexner Center for the Arts. It is organized in chronological order, highlighting the fluid progression of the artist’s work and spanning every phase of the artist’s career. It features approximately 80 key paintings from 1985 to the present and is accompanied by a comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue.
See also: Luc Tuymans microsite