DE BARING (KAREL AUBROECK)
We retrace our steps to the Moerlandstraat and go to the crossing with the Hospitaalstraat. Here we come across a large, cylindrical building in natural stone. It’s the auditorium of Odisee, a university college department where among others, nurses and midwives are trained. On the street corner stands the large statue ‘De Baring’.
Well-rounded female figures are favourite models for sculptor Karel Aubroeck. ‘De Baring’ is a tribute to fertility and to the promising future of humanity at each new birth. Due to the power his sturdy sculptures emanate, the art of Aubroeck reminds of German expressionism.
The work’s function is not restricted to rendering a message. The artist imposes high demands on himself and aspires to perfect design. The expressive posture and all details in the shape are proof that this sculpture is clearly designed for an open space.
Beside sculptures, the artist also designed houses. In 1924 Karel Aubroeck’s manor ‘De Uil (The Owl)’ in the Fonteinstraat in Temse is built to his own design, in art-deco style. From 1924 to 1938 the dwelling, with a gallery and studios, was systematically enlarged in function of large orders such as the IJzermonument in Diksmuide and the King Albert monument in Nieuwpoort. Aubroeck claims having executed a large part of these extensions himself, such as the masonry and concrete casting. He also sculpted the figures on the original wooden front door: the owl, the fountain and Saint Amelberga. The current owners-business managers, designers Roger Liekens and Mark Massa (2002), renovated the house, respecting its past, and had the garden redesigned by the floral artist Daniël Ost from Sint- Niklaas.
AUBROECK Karel (1884-1986)
Karel Aubroeck was one of the most famous 20th century Flemish sculptors. He studied at the Academy of Temse. Later he trained as a wood carver in Mechelen. In 1914 he was awarded a gold medal for sketching after a live model. After 1918 he studied at the Academy of Mechelen. Aubroeck’s style is mostly expressionist, with a characteristic closed character. In 1922 he became a member of the Wase Kunstkring, where he had his first exhibition. From 1922 till 1968 he took part in exhibitions of the Wase Kunstkring and in four Biennals in the Middelheimmuseum. He was also chairman of the Royal Flemish Academy.
Kunst in de Stad - September 15th 2001