© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

A central figure in the Belgian avant-garde at the turn of the century, Lemmen was active as a painter, draftsman, and art critic. The Lamp depicts a theme recurrent in his early work: the intimate bourgeois interior, with his sister, mother, grandmother, and father (in various combinations) doing handwork and reading by lamplight around a table. The studies of this scene that Lemmen began to make in December 1886 culminated in a lithograph (1890–91) and a major painting (untraced) that attracted considerable critical attention when exhibited at the avant-garde Salon Les XX of 1891. During this period, Lemmen executed interior scenes in Conté crayon, reflecting his careful study of Seurat’s work in that medium. Here, however, he uses brown ink and wash applied with a brush—a technique reminiscent of Van Gogh’s discrete, vigorous strokes of the reed pen.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Georges Lemmen, Belgian (Brussels 1865 - 1916 Brussels)
The Lamp
Other Titles
Former Title: La Lampe
Work Type
August 31, 1890
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink and wash on cream wove paper
23.4 x 30.7 cm (9 3/16 x 12 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower left, brown ink: 31 août, 90
  • inscription: graphite, lower right: 604P
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: 692/P4
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of William S. Lieberman, by exchange
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Selected Paintings and Works on Paper, auct. cat., Jill Newhouse and Neffe-Degandt Fine Art (London/New York, 2007), no. 40, repr.

Exhibition History

Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu