Further Biographical Context for Renaat Matthijssens
Renaat Matthijssens was born in 1921 and was primarily inspired creatively by the 1930s. The period of the 1930s is epitomised by the clashing of a number of political ideologies, including Marxist Socialism, Capitalist Democracy, and the Totalitarianism of both Communism and Fascism. In the Soviet Union, Stalin’s government required urgent funds to implement the rapid industrialisation demanded by the first Five Year Plan. It initiated a secret proposal to sell off treasures from the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), including a preliminary list of two hundred and fifty priceless paintings by the Old Masters, a number of which found their way to the collection of Andrew Mellon via the New York based art dealing company, Knoedler.