Les XX

   A circle of artists formed in late 1883 and originating as a breakaway from the L'Essor circle, Les XX (Cercle des Vingts; Les Vingts) consisted of less than 20 founding members, including Paul du Bois, Jean Delvin, James Ensor, Willy Finch, Charles Goethals, Jef Lambeaux, Pericles Pantazis, and Theo van Rysselberghe, among others. The group owed its origin primarily to the efforts of Octave Maus (1856-1919), a Brussels-born lawyer and writer on art, who served as secretary, sponsor, and exhibits organizer. The circle was marked by extreme flexibility in organization and it welcomed as exhibitors artists worldwide who shared the members' modern approach to art.
   The first exhibition opened on 1 February 1884 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts with annual salons held thereafter. The membership experienced high turnover especially in the early years when conservative adherents reigned. Marked by innovative exhibits, salons revealed a strong stress on realism and the study of nature. Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley in the mid-1880s were followed by then little-known postimpressionists in the late 1880s and early 1890s, including Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Vincent Van Gogh.
   In addition, musical concerts held at Les XX from 1888 to 1894 were among the most innovative in Europe. Salons held by the group exerted an influence on neighboring countries, with exhibitions in Amsterdam and Paris modeled on those in Brussels.
   Growing tensions generated by rivalry among members, the rise in popularity of the decorative arts, and the need to impose more managerial order led to the group's dissolution in July 1893. La Libre Esthétique followed as its successor.
   See also Painting.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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