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« Biography of Herman De Cuyper »

Herman De Cuyper
Herman De Cuyper was born in Blaasveld on 22 November 1904 to a family of modest means. He was the fourth child and youngest son among seven siblings. His father, Karel De Cuyper (1876-1964) was a shoemaker and was married to Celestina Van De Perre (1881-1970).

After the first World War, Hermans parents allowed him to enter the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in Mechelen on the advice of his teacher and neighbour. During the school year 1920-1921, at the age of sixteen, Herman entered in the drawing class of Theo Blickx (1875-1963). Blickx was the leading artist in those days living in Mechelen. He soon spotted the talent of the young Herman and quickly gave his pupil comprehensive private lessons in his home studio.

At the academy, Herman De Cuyper followed both sculpting and painting courses, which he completed in 1923. During the same year, his entry for painting was also awarded the Roger Langbehn Prize. His teacher, director and painter Jan Willem Rosier (1858-1931) admitted him as a pupil to the select sketching club of the Mechelen Sint-Lucas guild.

Dansende Putti, krijt op papier (ca 1924)
Dancing Putti, cray on paper (ca. 1924)

Before doing his military service in 1924, the sculptor specialised in furniture ornamenting at the Municipal school of Crafts in Mechelen with Emile Bourgeois (1881-1947). During his military service in Brussels, his army superiors allowed him to follow the evening course of modelling with Arsne Matton (1873-1953) at the Brussels Academy. A year later, the industry sculptor set up his own studio and has worked for a few years as a figurist for the famous furniture company Horckmans in Mechelen. At the start of the economic recession in 1930, Herman stopped his activities as a furniture sculptor and became a full-time artistic sculptor.

De kunstenaar in 1958
The artist in 1958 among his works in the small show-room of the studio dwelling

 

Portret van mijn zieke moeder (Prijs Langbehn)
Portrait of my diseased mother (Prize Langbehn, 1923)

Mijn vrouw, pastel (1925)  
My wife, pastel (1925)  

He married Philomena Aelbrecht (1908-1993) from Willebroek on the 4th March 1933. They founded a large family. Around 1938 the artist moved into his new built home in Blaasveld. Here he home-lovingly raised his family as a farmer-sculptor and started an impressive sculptural oeuvre. At the end of the second World War, a German V1-bomb destroyed a large part of the plaster models that dated from the first creative period of the artist.

Herman De Cuyper died on the 17th June 1992 at the age of eighty-six amidst his children.

Herman De Cuyper - An intimist Belgian sculptor

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