is a Dutch Post-Impressionnist Art Painter, born on April 12, 1889 in
Nieuwer-Amstel (Holland), died April 30, 1966 in Schaerbeek - Brussels
(Belgium). He began as decorator and painter of porcelains in Delft
(Netherlands). His artistic preferences for post-impressionism result
in painting Flanders' landscapes, marines, farms' interiors, still
lifes and flowers, but very few portraits. Living in Brussels as from
1913, he was member of the group «L'Effort» and is mainly considered as
First artistic formation at the orphanage in Dieren-Arnhem where he is placed at the age of ten.
Starts reproducing decorative drawings.
Spends his free time to roam the neighborhood for better apprehending the landscapes.
Is an apprentice with a house painter for a while.
Becomes painter on porcelain, first in Delft, then Makkum.
Resides in Brussels then in Cologne in 1909.
Works mainly in the Netherlands until 1913.
in spring 1913 but savagely conscientious objector, leaves Holland
definitively and settles in Brussels (Belgium) near his sister Anna
Alida, who married Frans Buning, childhood friend of the artist whom he
knew since the orphanage.
of the 1st world war, in 1918, marries Maria Marteau and gives his name
to her first child, Jean Leon, born on September 15, 1911.
On Octobre 3d 1920, birth of his son Victor
Moves to Saint-Josse-ten-Noode (Brussels) in 1931.
In the 30th, becomes regular member of a group of artists and their free workshop «L'Effort».
Spends nearly two years on the Belgian coast (De Haan, Belgium, Ostend,
Koksijde) and devotes himself particularly to his penchant for the
marines. Meanwhile, long walks in the surrounding countryside are the
pretext for a wide range of subjects of oil paintings captured either
in the form of drawings and landscapes as small as 20x30 (which he will
reuse as model source until the end of the war and work on more
imposing canvas or pannels).
definitively in 1937, Avenue Dailly - Schaerbeek (Brussels), but keeps
his workshop, street St. Gudule (opposite the St. Michael and St.
Gudula Cathedral), until 1945 year of demolition because of
reconstruction work of “The Junction”.
During the World War II, his family will have to hide from Germans in the workshop to escape from enforced works.
until his death, works exclusively in his apartment on the basis of
drawings made while having good time during various trips and
excursions in Flanders and Holland.
painter of landscapes, marines, riversides, farms and interiors, still
lifes and flowers, he did paint only about thirty portraits.
At the age of 10 years, he was placed in an orphanage in Dieren
(Arnhem), after the death of his father. In this institute he received
his first lessons, which consisted of copies of existing drawings, but
especially decorative patterns and mural frescos very appreciated in
these times. In 1906, he accepts a job of decorator on porcelain in
Delft, then in Makkum, a small town in Friesland (Netherlands). His
work then consists in decorating small square plates of “Delft”, dishes
and other objects.
In 1909, after leaving his employment, he begins his life as artist,
free and independent. All his life he will remain faithful to his set
of themes for landscapes which will evolve gradually to a greater
lightness and will gain in colors and luminosity, always in a
In 1928, in Brussels, he organizes an exhibition of his works (the
first and only he will ever agree to do) and participates the same
year, in Namur, in an overall exposition organized in favour of victims
of floods. Photographs of several of his paintings illustrated the
newspapers of the time.
In the 30th, he assiduously spends a lot of time in the Circle
“L'Effort”, corporation of artists whose workshop was located at
Brussels - Grand-Place. In the company of his artist friends, he
benefits thus from the services of models and carries out many drawings
(charcoals, "sanguines") drawned from life.
After the war, he will reach the top of his art by playing with the
sets of shadows and lights throughout his landscape subjects of
predilection: fields, undergrowths, farmyards,… He will thus not be
long in gaining a rather great public notoriety and interest from the
artistic media, without strictly yielding to their demands and while
painting only subjects according to his desires.
He will produce in his lifetime more than 7.500 works, for the majority
oils on canvas and generally sizing between (30 X 40) and (50 X 60),
made in his workshop, but also a lot of oil works on light panels or
cardboards (around 20 X 30), because he preferred those when drawing
from life during his excursions.
To live and satisfy his family responsibilities, he was nevertheless
obliged to sell works, through art galleries (e.g. Ferbach) which
became more and more demanding in front of the increasing interest of
customers attracted by the friendliness of his paintings. Also, many of
them were sold on the North American market.
The paintings that he agreed to paint thus, which he called
“commercial”, represent however nearly 2/3 of his work, often of style
in agreement with the image that the public had about him, therefore
may be less handled on the level of the artistic study. Such works were
generally signed with a surname (e.g.: Mentens) which he separately
reserved for each art merchant.
It should be noted however that his deep repulsion “to be sold” will
lead him to reject any form of exhibition or publicity, except for
those organized by the merchants themselves and which he will always
refuse to participate personally. This explains the confidentiality of
the sale of his works after his death.
Painting was his ideal and guided his all life.
about 7000 works of art realised by the artist throughout his entire
life, only about 200 paintings, drawings and personal objects are
referenced on this site.
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