Modest Huys

Olsene 1874 – 1932 Zulte

Modest Huys was an impressionist-luminist painter active in the region of Zulte, Olsene, Wakken and Waregem, more to the West of Ghent. He started working for his father’s painting and decorating company at a very young age. For that reason he took classes at the Nijverheidsschool in Ghent. He met Emile Claus in 1891. It was through his influence that Huys decided to become a professional painter. In October 1900 he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, but never finished his training there. Even though Modest Huys was no disciple of Claus, he belonged to the group of artists that were associated with him and the art movement of Sint-Martens-Latem. In 1902 he made his debut at the exhibition of the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire of Ghent, in the triennial Salons and in the art circle ‘Vie et Lumière’.

Huys briefly fled to the Netherlands during World War 1 and after his return in 1915 he moved to Sint-Baafs-Vijve and Olsene. In 1926 he settled in the “Zonnehuys” near the Leie in Zulte. Modest Huys was an impressionist-Luminist painter of figures, portraits, landscapes, rural life and folk scenes in the Leie region, especially the region of Olsene and Gottem. Harvest scenes, flax cultivation, fairs, processions and pilgrimages were his trademark. In his early years he was strongly influenced by Emile Claus. In the prewar years he profiled himself a leading representative of Luminism. His style kept evolving but remained far away from expressionism which made its entrance at that time.