GUILLAUME LEUNENS - Biography

GUILLAUME LEUNENS, FLEMISH ARTIST PAINTER

Biography

Born in Hal, Belgium, in 1914. He starts working at the age of 15, but is already an artist with all his heart.

He works at a foundry, with metal and bronze.

Meanwhile, he devotes himself to painting and personal experiences. In 1930, he begins to follow all avant-garde artistic manifestations. Among others, he admires Permeke and van den Berghe. Even during his time as a prisoner at a concentration camp during World War II, he keeps his dream alive each time he finds paper and a pencil.

Starting out from Flemish expressionism, he evolves to abstract art and his encounter with Servranckx makes him discover his own way. In 1948, he starts exhibiting his work.

Short period of studies at the "Académie des Beaux-Arts" in Brussels. He is mostly a self-taught artist.

In 1956, he exhibits in Spain ( Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Palma).

Since 1957, he resides in Paris. Cottage in Ardèche (France).

In 1960, he starts experimenting with metal, being convinced that our era needs its own pictorial means. Numerous trips within Europe, the United States and Canada. He is invited by the French government to the World Exposition in Montreal.

In 1969, he is invited by the group E.A.T.(Experiments in Art and Technology), founded in the United States by Billy Klüver and Rauschenberg. At the same time, he exhibits in Brooklyn and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In 1973, Guillaume Leunens' exhibition of his art collection at the Cultural Center of the Province of Antwerp is acknowledged by the B.A.A.C. (Belgian Association of Art Critics) as the best exhibition of the month.

In 1975, Guillaume Leunens participates in the "Biennale de la critique d'art", first at the "Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi" (March-April) then at the "Abbaye Saint-Pierre " in Ghent (May - June).

In 1984-1985, he exhibits for the Flemish "Les Beaux-Arts" commission. Guillaume Leunens dies in 1990.



Guillaume Leunens occupies a unique position in the world of painting. In the first place, the parents of this Belgian painter were workers and he himself was a worker in a foundry. He kept of his origins and of his time as a factory worker the fundamental qualities of a conscientious and skilled worker respecting the material he is working with: colors or metal. His attitude towards reality is that of a person knowing the inestimable price of everything. His intention is to express it in its complexity, but not without a certain creative inspiration that establishes it firmly and enlarges it until it becomes a universe of unique and capturing beauty.

In the second place, the autodidact Guillaume Leunens has developed, through his own experiments, an outstanding technique: more thanks to the expertise of the artisan than to that of the artist who is full of the teachings of whatever art school. His paintings, which we will not see at the exhibition, and his metals are the results of influences - Breughel, van Gogh and Permeke - under which he came during his visits to museums and during his technological apprenticeship as an adolescent. This blend of the experienced and the acquired has created a synthesis of techniques, which results in the use of aluminum in form of large sheets stretched on a frame. They will not fail to immediately surprise the visitor. However, the eyes finally enter the harmonious play of modulations ranging from black over a diversity of metallic gray shades to silver. This voluntary deprivation, which does not lack an analogy with that of contemporary music, is of a certain pathetic greatness in spite of the material used: aluminum.

In this choice lies yet another reason for Guillaume Leunens originality: having expressed, in an admirable way, through "metal"..., the two fundamental notions of the art of painting: space and movement. This he achieves through a series of bumps and hollows with stripes in all directions across them, which captivate the light and reproduce it in different shades, whose obscure shimmer creates all kinds of variations emphasizing the relief and making it palpable and mobile. The dominant impression is that of a meteoric universe which already reflects the world sensed in advance.

Reggui, Orléans, La république du Centre, March 15, 1968.



Copyright 1996 ArtMetal / Victor Leunens