Jean Brusselmans (Bruxelles, 1884 - Dilbeek, 1953)
Belgian painter and printmaker.
Brusselmans started his artistic career as a commercial engraver and lithographer. In 1897 he entered the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels to develop these skills. However, an impressionist-exhibition at La Libre Esthétique (1904) presenting works of Seurat and Cézanne shifted his interest from graphic art towards painting.
In 1911 he joined the circle L'Effort (Auguste Oleffe, James Ensor, Léon Spilliaert and Jos Albert) and became friends with the Brabant Fauvists. The long lasting influence of Cézanne and his fauvist friends led Brusselmans towards a very individual conception of Fauvism with typical broad, rectangular brush strokes.
In 1921 Brusselmans participated in his first one-man show in Antwerp at the Galerie Breckpot. At this time his style changed. His desire to simplify volumes and planes became striking. All shades of colour disappeared to give room to plain, basic tones applied with a single brush stroke. He developed a strong Expressionist style, which he presented in peasant scenes, landscapes, interiors and still-lifes.
In the 1930s Brusselmans career peaked. He joined the circle of the Compagnons de l'Art and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels organised the first retrospective of his oeuvre. The young generation of painters admired Brusselmans for his remarkably structured work and his desire to emphasize forms through thick contour lines. The almost geometric structure of his paintings was contrasted by the sensitivity and delicacy of his colours.
During the Second World War Brusselmans desire to paint declined until he died in Dilbeek, Belgium in 1953.