Enjoying a long-standing reputation as being a ‘painter’s painter,’ De Keyser has been a leading influence on the next generation of painters, including Luc Tuymans, Rebecca Morris, and Tomma Abts. Modest in size, De Keyser’s spare works have a special intimacy that derives from the physical characteristics of the medium itself, as well as the tension created between plane and depth, figure and ground. As noted by Hamza Walker of The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, where De Keyser had his United States museum debut in 2000:
De Keyser’s pictorial logic is one in which conclusions regarding composition, color or manner of brush handling are confidently proposed but never asserted to a degree suggesting the evolutionary terminus of an art form . . . Although De Keyser has managed to merge various contradictory elements - figuration and abstraction, gesture and geometry, the garish and the restrained - his work in no way exhibits tendencies of a postmodern eclecticism that would reduce the history of painting to a mere collection of styles. If anything, De Keyser’s work, in modest proportions, has the spirit
of painting when abstraction was celebrated for opening new possibilities within the realm of pictorial expression.