Lukas - Art in Flanders VZW, photo Hugo Maertens
Already during his lifetime, George Minne enjoyed international recognition in Art Nouveau and Symbolist circles. The Fountain with Kneeling Youths is his most famous and most successful figure group. The slender nude youth is a distinctive creation of Minnes. These fragile and introspective figures are typical of the great poignancy achieved by this artist in his sculptures. The simplicity of line and the ascetic geometric character of this group are characteristic of Minnes non-academic formal idiom. The repetition of five identical figures around the top of the water basin enhances the expressive force of the whole. The German art critic Julius Meier-Graefe judged the Fountain of Kneeling Youths to be a perfect ornament and the first sculpture of our new age. Minne designed the fountain in 1898 and produced different versions in plaster, marble and bronze. This version is the only surviving plaster model. The artist kept it in his studio until his death.