Vision of Utopia: Albert Saverys' "Premier Neige"

Asumi Oba Hanover College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Xiaolong Wu Hanover College
This paper analyzes a painting in the Hanover College art collection titled “Premier Neige” by the Belgian artist Albert Saverys (1886-1964) and argues that this painting shows the artist’s image of a utopian society. In order to analyze the painting in its original historical context, the first half of the paper discusses the socio-political and socio-economic situations of northern Belgium during the early twentieth century. The northern part of Belgium at that time experienced the industrialization and World War I, during which many new technologies were introduced in the battles. Those two events must have shown Saverys both the bright and dark sides of the technological development: technology can bring a richer life to people, but at the same time, it can make people suffer. In the second half of the paper, iconography and formalism are used to discuss Saverys’ painting in response to the technological development. The painting depicts a snow landscape of a rural town and evokes a peaceful feeling in the mind of the viewer. There is no sign of the industrialization in this scene. This painting shows that technological development is not indispensable for humans to create their utopian society. In this painting, the artist tells us that humans can live in a peaceful and happy society without pursuing further technological development.
Art History
Oral Presentation

When & Where

12:00 PM
Lilly Hall 133