“Le Vin” by Alphons Joseph Strymans
The sculptural work, masterfully executed in white Carrara marble, presents a refined figurative composition that reveals three human figures in dynamic interaction. The nuances and meticulously chiselled anatomical details attest to the exceptional talent and expertise of the sculptor Alphons Joseph Strymans. This grouping, comprised of two women and a man, all three nude, intertwine in a choreography evoking an ecstatic dance. Each figure holds a cluster of grapes, reproduced with remarkable precision, evidently symbolising the making of wine. A particularly striking note is the unconsciously dominant placement of a woman’s foot on the head the male figure serving as a point of support for the decadent trio. This composition, both graceful and intense, eloquently illustrates the effects of wine on the soul and human interactions.
The silhouettes of the figures merge harmoniously with the botanical motifs of vines, thus suggesting an intrinsic union between man and nature in their mutual inebriation. This masterpiece poetically evokes the idea that man and nature share a common essence – a profound origin.
Alphons Joseph Strymans (Belgium, 1866-1959)
Born on July 24, 1866, in Turnhout, Alphons Joseph Strymans passed away in 1959 in Antwerp. He distinguished himself as a cabinetmaker, draftsman, and above all as a sculptor. Trained at the art school of Turnhout, Strymans also benefited from the expertise of his father, a renowned cabinetmaker specialised in the creation of church furniture. This education bestowed upon him an exceptional mastery of sculpture in both wood and stone. His quest for excellence led him to pursue studies at the Antwerp Academy from 1886 to 1990, and then at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Brussels under the tutelage of Master Thomas Vinçotte. From 1898 to 1935, he shared his knowledge as a drawing teacher at the art school in Berchem. During this period, he also collaborated with eminent sculptors such as Frans Joris, Jules Weyns, and Josué Dupon, among others.
His artistic repertoire is vast. Throughout his career, he designed various ornaments for Art Nouveau furniture as well as sculptural works in bronze, ivory, and marble. From the beginning of the twentieth century, his works found their place in Antwerp, exhibited in museums and during prestigious events.
Besides his artworks, Strymans left his mark through various commemorative monuments and busts of notable personalities. Among his major accomplishments are the statues for the fishermen’s house in Antwerp, busts of the music critic Guy Davenel, the poet Max Elskamp, and the mayor of Berchem, Mr. Van Oombeek. Numerous prestigious institutions preserve his works. The Museum of Central Africa in Tervueren houses the ivory “The Daughter of Eve” and other remarkable pieces. The sculpture “Despair,” in bronze, can be found at the Dinant Museum, while one of his marble busts is proudly displayed at the Antwerp Museum
Bénézit E. (1999), Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs (J. Buysse, Ed.) (nouvelle édition entièrement refondue). Gründ. p. 322; Engelen, C., & Marx, M. (2006). La Sculpture en Belgique à partir de 1830 (Tome VI), Louvain: Engelen-Marx. pp. 3328-3331; Joseph, Prof. Dr. D. (1897). Die Elfenbeinplastik auf des Brüsseler Weltausstellung von 1897. Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst, 8, 281-288; Scherer, C. (n.d.). Monographien des Kunstgewerbes, Vol. 8, Elfenbeinplastik seit der Renaissance. pp. 122-141; Thieme, U., & Becker, F. (1999). Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Vol. 31/32). E.A. Seemann. p. 222
Material: White Carrara Marble
Signed and dated: A. Jef. Strymans 1901
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