Spotlight: At 75 Years Old, Albert Pepermans’s Irreverent Paintings Are Still a Shock to the System

A new book about the Belgian artist's work will be released this June.

Albert Pepermans in his studio. Photograph by Miles Fishler.
Albert Pepermans in his studio. Photograph by Miles Fishler.

Every month, hundreds of galleries add newly available works by thousands of artists to the Artnet Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on one artist you should know. Check out what we have in store, and inquire for more with one simple click.

About the Artist: Belgian artist Albert Pepermans (b. 1947) creates energetic, visually punchy artworks characterized by bold and dynamic colors. The artist draws from both Pop art and Dada sensibilities, and, to that end, his works are often marked by witty humor and a sense of irreverent spontaneity. Pepermans shows with Brussel’s Schönfeld gallery, and to mark his recent 75th birthday, the gallery has organized a slew of projects and events.

Earlier this year, the gallery hosted “Pepermans Is a Stream” an expansive exhibition of the artist’s works, starting with those from the 1980s. Next week, Schönfeld will be presenting a booth of his work at the Drawing Now Art Fair in Paris. And this June, a new book of Pepermans’s works, titled ça suffit, will be published. The title, meaning “Is it enough?” draws from Pepermans’s own artistic interrogation, in which the artist tries to gauge the moment that a work is complete.

Courtesy of Albert Pepermans.

Courtesy of Albert Pepermans.

Why We Like It: Pepermans has always defined himself as a painter with a graphic sensibility, one who “draws” with paint, he has said. The artist first emerged on the art scene in the 1970s, before the emergence of the Neo-Expressionists in the 1980s. From that lineage, Pepermans has made a career one of challenging the status quo. Organizing exhibitions in Paris in the 1980s and ‘90s, he earned the nickname “The Belgian Madman” for his unorthodox methods, including painting on cut-up sewing patterns which he’d pin to gallery walls. While Dada and Pop art certainly influence his works, one can also see Pepermans dialogue with punk artists of the 1970s, such as Raymond Pettibon. Today, Pepermans is still experimenting, bringing his signature motifs—such as his man with the hat (an archetype of the painter) or his recurring image of a vase with two flowers—into new artistic dialogues.

According to the Gallery: “Due to his fascination with movement and spontaneity, Albert Pepermans never bores. Using a wide variety of techniques, materials, and colors, this artist continuously reinvents himself, which over the past decades resulted in an impressive oeuvre.” 

Browse works by the artist below.

Subway (1998)
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Albert Pepermans, Subway (1998). Courtesy of Schönfeld Gallery.

Albert Pepermans, Subway (1998). Courtesy of Schönfeld Gallery.

Mister Red (1989)
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Albert Pepermans, Mister Red (1989). Courtesy of Schönfeld Gallery.

Albert Pepermans, Mister Red (1989). Courtesy of Schönfeld Gallery.

Four Times a Bunker (2020)
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Albert Pepermans, Four Times a Bunker (2020). Courtesy of Schönfeld Gallery.

Albert Pepermans, Four Times a Bunker (2020). Courtesy of Schönfeld Gallery.


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