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Biography of JULES PIERRE VAN BIESBROECK  ( 1873-1965 )

Jules Van Biesbroeck was born in Italy in 1873 during his parents settled there. Indeed, his father was the Belgian painter named Jules Evarist Van Biesbroeck. As many of artists of his time, he was working in Italy when his son Jules was born. The young boy first lived in Italy and his family came back to Ghent when he was two. He followed his first apprenticeship with his father and then joined the class of Kuhnen at the shool of Fine Arts. He was a child prodigy who sold his first painting The Shepherd at the early age of 14 during the Triennial Ghent Exhibition.

On the next year, he first exhibited in Paris, at the Salon of the Champs Elysées. He stood out with his monumental painting and especially by his nude models. The painting scandalized the censors and the young artist was asked to cover his characters with veils in order to exhibit. The work of this teenager was finally recognized and the jury gave him an honorable mention on the recommendation of William Bouguereau himself.

He won fame in painting as well as in sculpture. In 1897 he arrived at the second position, behind Henri Boncquet, at the Belgian Prize of Rome in sculpture class and in 1898 he gained the same position in painting class.

A few years later, he received orders for the city of Ghent to realize many monuments. He took part in many international events, of whom the 1900’s Universal Exhibition in Paris. In 1901, he was awarded with a gold medal during the Art International Exhibition of Glaspalast in Munich and once more by the city of Milan in 1906. He became unanimously a member of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in 1910. He painted symbolist work before turning to orientalism. Because of WWI he left Brussels in 1914 and settled in Bordighera, in the villa “Nid Propre” where he dedicated himself to impressionist painting and sculpture.

Finally appealed by new horizons, he started to travel in North Africa in 1926. Then in 1927, he discovered Algeria, that is for the painter a real revelation. He changed his palette in lighter tones and represented orientalist scenes, most precisely the inhabitant of Bou-Saada. He stayed in Algeria until 1938, and back to Ghent, he mainly continued to paint orientalist paintings.

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