Born in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek in 1874, Leon van den Houten became a man of varying talents. He is remembered today as much for his paintings as his sculptures both of these art forms equally important and equally well crafted. It appears that Leon van den Houten was self-taught as there is no evidence of his attending any of the established art schools or academies. We do know, however, that he became familiar with the work being produced by various Brussels artists, most notably that of the Brabançon Fauvistes. This group of painters were following the path of the likes of Vlaminck and Gauguin in France but had advanced the principals of Fauvism by utilizing an even more vivid color palette. Van den Houten certainly met and was befriended by William Paerels, one of the founders of the Brabançon Fauvist movement and this association becomes evident when viewing Van Den Houten’s work from the period 1900-1910. He had begun his career in the late 1890’s and in 1903 was a founder member of the art group known as Cercle Libre. He would later help establish an even more important artistic group that of Pour l’Art in Charleroi. In 1911 he became a professor of design at the Academy of Charleroi a post he would hold for many years. A frequent exhibitor at exhibitions and institutions throughout Belgium he also participated in French exhibitions, most notably his inclusion in the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs held in Paris in 1925. As a sculptor he worked on some monumental pieces including some war memorials in the years after World War I. He worked with a number of important foundries Marchienne, Marcinelle and Monceau amongst others. This dramatic beach scene dates to 1923 and shows Van Den Houten’s move away from the ideals of Fauvism into a simpler style more associated with the post-Impressionists. Although no location is recorded it is likely a view on the Belgian coast near La Panne, noted for its sand dunes.