Collection description :
The artworks of Wilchar (1910-2005), whose real name is Wilhem Pauwels, have an important place in the heritage of contemporary art in Belgium. The last representatives of the "popular image" movement, he produced a large number of works ranging from printed posters to gouache, oil on wood paintings and lithographs.
Through his family context (especially his father), Wilchar was confronted from an early age with the social struggle of the workers. He would make his life a struggle to defend the oppressed against the hegemony of the bourgeoisie and capitalism. Thus, during the Second World War, he participated in a clandestine body called the "Link", launched the clandestine cultural review "Art and Freedom" and was a member of the artist group "Contact". Wilchar was arrested by the Germans in 1943 for his communist activities and sent to the Breendonk Fort. He later used his artistic talents to exorcise his experience of being locked in a series of gouache paintings.
Long before the war, as early as 1933, Wilchar had made a name for himself by producing political posters for the Socialist Party and the Belgian Communist Party. In general, he used simple language to describe scenes of everyday life and thus reach an audience as wide as possible. His posters are often accompanied by a text that reinforces the readability of the image while ensuring that the original perception is not damaged. Unlike advertising, which seeks to seduce, Wilchar aimed to deliver a clear and precise message in order to convince.
CegeSoma bought about sixty Wilchar posters from the artist himself during his lifetime. These range from 1935 to 1950. Some of them have been restored. For copyright reasons, these posters can only be consulted in the CegeSoma reading room.
For more information :
- Film : « Wilchar, les larmes noirs » by Richard Olivier.
- Website about Wilchar