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A Belgian village, near Ghent, that became popular with artists in the late 19th century and which in the early 20th century was the centre of two distinct groups, known as the First and Second Laetham Schools. The artists who made up the First School settled there c.1900 under the aegis of the poet Karel van de Woestijne to enjoy the simple life in communion with nature. The principal figures were the sculptor Georg Minne and the painters Valerius de Saedeleer (1867–1941), Albert Servaes, and Gustave van de Woestijne (1881–1947), brother of the poet. Their work consisted mainly of simple peasant scenes and landscapes in a meditative and somewhat melancholy Symbolist vein. A few years later the members of the Second School came together; they included Frits van den Berghe and the brothers Gustave and Léon de Smet. In 1909 they were joined by Permeke. This Second Laetham School was broken up by the First World War, but it was the chief cradle of Belgian Expressionism.

Subjects: Art.

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