Art: Belgian Bulldozer

"There are my brushes," jokes Belgian Painter Constant Permeke, 64, pointing to the brooms in the corner of his studio. At first glance, Permeke's lowering land and seascapes, bulky peasants and heavy-limbed nudes look as though they might well have been swept on to the canvas with a carelessly bound bunch of straw. But their spontaneity and crudely powerful draftsmanship have earned him a place as a leader of Belgian expressionism and, according to some critics, "one of the most incontestable masters that Belgium has given to art."

Belgians first began to hear of burly Constant Permeke when he blustered into the...

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