The Shooting Gallery

This is a Flemish Masterpiece


Gustave De Smet

Period and date

20ste eeuw


Gustave De Smet painted The Great Shooting Gallery in a carefree period of his life. From 1923, he lived with Frits Van den Berghe in Afsnee, a picturesque village the River Leie, a stone’s throw from Sint-Martens-Latem. Gallery owner Paul-Gustave Van Hecke had made his country house there available to artists. During the weekends and in summer months, this Villa Malpertuis was a lively meeting place for the artistic crème de la crème. It was also frequented by Walter Schwarzenberg, director of the Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels. Like Van Hecke, he championed the work of the Flemish expressionists, including that of Gustave De Smet.

Schwarzenberg also showed the work of French artists at Le Centaure. In 1922, several prints by the French graphic artist Jean-Emile Laboureur were exhibited at La Centaure. Did De Smet see this exhibition and was he inspired by it? Perhaps so, because his large shooting gallery bears a striking resemblance to Laboureur’s 1920/21 sketch, Le tir forain. You can see this, for example, in the similar arrangement of the three figures: the spectator on the left, the shooter in the middle, with his back to us, and the young woman on the right behind the counter.


signatuur (rechts onderaan): Gust. De Smet
geheel, height: 134 cm
geheel, width: 155 cm
met lijst, height: 150 cm
met lijst, width: 167.5 cm
met lijst, depth: 9 cm


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