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ARTISTIC CIRCLE : DE SCALDEN - Antwerpen (1889-1914)

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De Scalden - 1889 
The artistic cercle De Scalden was founded in 1889 and lead by the medallist Jules Baetes.
Initially they had two goals : expositions of the ‘art of decoration’ and parades (artistic styling of official parades and carnival parades).
The outbreak of the first World War in 1914 meant also the end of De Scalden.
 
 
 
 

CHARTER OF THE FOUNDATION

LETTER to L. MORTELMANS

LETTERHEAD

De Scalden - stichtingsakte 1889

Charter of Foundation from 1889
  (City archives - Antwerpen)

Brief van De Scalden aan Lodewijk Mortelmans

Letter to Lodewijk Mortelmans
  (source AMVC)

Letterhead De Scalden 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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THE PARADES

Their first aim was to give a more artistic character to the float in the many parades. In 1889, a group of members of the Scalden participated for the first time to a parade and choosed the name Ons Voorgeslacht (Our Ancestry). This would be the start to a series of successfull participations of parades.

The Scalden rapidly grew to become a real artistic society. Many students of the Antwerp Art Academy joined. They came from a wide variety of artistic directions and the circle had his main goal to take 'Art' closer to the simple man of the street.

They moved in a time whereas in Flandern the first renewals in the artistic world would surface. Already in 1883 there was a new circle in Brussels called The XX, and Flandern with Antwerp on top were somewhat behind. A number of circles such as Wees Uzelf (Be Yourself), Als ik kan (If I can), Arte et Labore, and L'association pour L'art indépendant (The Association of Independant Art) came before De Scalden, but at that time did not achieved to get really closer to the ordinary people.
 

To the occasion of the '300th birthday of the birth of Antoon Van Dyck' :

stoet VanDijck cover                                      1899 Cover Album du Grand Cortège 
 
1899 - cover : De kunst door de Eeuwen Heen (Art throughout the Centuries)  - cover booklet Album du Grand Cortège
 
1899 Praalwagen Van Dyck, tekening Frans Proost                                        1899 Praalwagen Van Dyck, tekening Gerard Portielje                                        1899 Praalwagen Van Dyck, tekening Jules Baetes
1899 - Float Van Dyck - resp. drawings Frans Proost, Gerard Portielje, Jules Baetes

1892 Praalwagen Landjuweel Rubenskring            kunststoet De Noormannen                                       De Vikings in de stoet                      Antoon Mortelmans in de stoet
1892 - Float Landjuweel Rubenskring - group picture of circle The Vikings - The Vikings in the parade

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De ScaldenTHE EXPOSITIONS

As a second aim De Scalden organised many expositions with works they discribed as 'Monumental, Decorative and Applied Art'. The exposed works all came from the members of the circle itself, which with the large number of members and their variety of skills gave no problems.

Unique regarding this circle certainly was their diversity. There were not only painters and sculptors, but also poets, writers, composers, leather manufacturers, decorators, blacksmiths, medallists, poster designers, architects, etc.
 

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POSTERS - ARCHIVES

In general, one could say the De Scalden were a bridge between the more tradional streamings, and the first renewers. Unfortunatly all the archieves of the circle were lost.

De Scalden verjaringsfeesten 1889-1909Therefor in order to recompose all their activities, it has to come from fragmentary data we can find here and there. And also with the discovery of documents left in privat archives, as through searchwork.

   In 2005 a licence student at Leuven University Koen Legrand, promoted by Dr. Chris Coppens, wrote
      his essay and thus brought 'De Scalden' back on the foreplan.
      ‘The Annual Books was a way for the 'De Scalden' to enter the area of printing and of the book.'
   His resume :
     ‘Edmond van Offel as an instigator took the majority of the works on his account, aswel for producing
     drawing, poetry, stories, and ideological textes. It is obvious De Scalden did not limited the appreciation
     for the book through their Annual Books, but also by inserting a lot of other elements,
     such as ideology and folklore.’
 

POSTERS - INVITATIONS :
Posters De Scalden                                       De Scalden 1898           De Scalden 1905 LA SOURCE VITALE (Jos Divoort - Exposition 1905) Cover             De Scalden 1905 LA SOURCE VITALE (Jos Divoort - Exposition 1905) Catalog inlay

De Scalden Poster 2nd Exposition - Edward Pellens (AMVC)                                       De Scalden Poster 3rd Exposition           De Scalden Poster 6th Exposition          De Scalden Poster 7th Exposition

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THE MEMBERS

More than 120 artists were member of The Scalden. We've listed some of them :

  • Arthur Audiens 
  • Lode Baeckelmans 
  • Jules Baetes 
  • Jos Bascourt 
  • André Carpentier 
  • Karel Collens 
  • C. de Beuckelaer 
  • August De Boeck 
  • Floris De Cuyper 
  • Emile Delin
  • Em. Delrue
  • Victor De Meyere 
  • Pol De Mont 
  • Floris Dierckx 
  • Pieter Dierckx 
  • Pol Dom 
  • Josue Dupon 
  • George Elliott 
  • Felix Gogo 

  • Fritz Hanno 
  • John Hassall 
  • Frans Hens 
  • Frans Huyghelen 
  • Theo Jacobs 
  • Eugene Joors 
  • Ferdinand Koch 
  • R. Leclercq 
  • Jerome Mees 
  • Leopold Muller 
  • Antoon Mortelmans 
  • Frans Mortelmans 
  • Lodewijk Mortelmans 
  • Lodewijk Ontrop 
  • Edward Pellens 
  • Arthur Pierre 
  • Gerard Portielje 
  • Jozef Posenaer 
  • Frans Proost 
  • René Rosiers 

  • Leon Rotthier 
  • Marten Rudelsheim 
  • ... Stoffels 
  • Walter Vaes 
  • Emiel van Averbeke 
  • Marten van der Loo 
  • V. van der Veken 
  • Karel Van De Woestijne 
  • Charles Van Havermaet 
  • Prosper Van Langendonck 
  • Alexis Van Mechelen 
  • Eugeen Van Mieghem 
  • Alfred van Neste 
  • Constant van Offel 
  • Edmond Van Offel 
  • J. van Wijck 
  • Lodewijk Verhees 
  • Emile Vloors 
  • ...
 

Leden van De Scalden

from left to right :
   Frans Mortelmans, Charles Van Havermaet, Leopold Muller,
   Jan Coppens, Jerome Mees, Jos Goossens, Jules Baetes

   (© ADVN Antwerpen)

At around 1900 a new circle De Kapel was founded in Antwerp, where many members of The Scalden also were involved.

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THE HOMAGE BOOKS

   Some Scaldenbooks known, are dedicated to a specific artist :

 - 1893 HOMAGE BOOK OF LODEWIJK MORTELMANS
   (the oldest known book of De Scalden)
   to the occasion of his First Price of Rome (book in privat property)
 
 - 1903 HOMAGE BOOK OF JOSUÉ DUPON AND POL DE MONT,
   resp.: sculptor (book in privat property) , and writer-poet (book in property AMVC),
   to the occassion of his appointment as 'Knight in the Order of Leopold'
 
 - 1904 HOMAGE BOOK OF JULES BAETES
   chairman as from the beginning
   (Prentenkabinet - Antwerpen)

1893 Homage Book of Lodewijk Mortelmans               1893 drawing of Frans Mortelmans                                     drawing of Jules Baetes                drawing Leon Rotthier
1893 - Homage Book of Lodewijk Mortelmans - drawings of Frans Mortelmans, Jules Baetes and Leon Rotthier

1903 Homage Book of Josue Dupon 
1903 - Homage Book of Josué Dupon

JULES BAETES

Jules Baetes - 1894 
Jules Baetes :
Bronz medall
Leopold II, King of Belgians
Antwerp Exposition 1894

 
 
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DE SCALDEN - THE ANNUAL BOOKS

Their release of 16 jaarboeken (Annual Books) (1897-1914), all extraordinary, different in size and content are some of the best in the Flemish Bookart and were each covered in a special way. Edmond Van Offel played here the role of main support.
The calendars, book with songs, books of poetry (amongst which of Pol de Mont), collections of tails, fairy tails, proverbs and humor were richely illustrated with original wood carving, lithographics and drawings.

 

THE 16 ANNUAL BOOKS

De Scalden 1889 Jaarboek 01                                          De Scalden 1898 Jaarboek 02a                          De Scalden 1898 Jaarboek 02b                           De Scalden 1900 Jaarboek 03
 
De Scalden 1901-1902 Jaarboek 04                                   De Scalden 1901 Jaarboek 05                                                      De Scalden 1902 Jaarboek 06                                          De Scalden 1903 Jaarboek 07
 
De Scalden 1907 Jaarboek 10                                           De Scalden 1905 Jaarboek 08                          De Scalden 1906 Jaarboek 09                                  De Scalden 1908 Jaarboek 11
 
De Scalden 1909 Jaarboek 12                    De Scalden 1910 Jaarboek 13                                    De Scalden 1912 Jaarboek 14                           De Scalden 1914 Jaarboek 16

 

The 8th Yearbook of 1905 brings old and new folksongs with a national touch. The song Houdt u fier is illustrated with a knight weaving with the Flemish Lionsflag. In the titel inital ‘H’ a Flemish Lion has been incorporated. This Houdt u fier is a new song composed by Lodewijk Mortelmans, Scaldenmember, on lyrics of Pol de Mont, who also took the initiative of the composition of this book.

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Sources : a.o. LFM, ADVN, AMVC, Raymond Vervliet (www.dbnl.org), Willy Feliers
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