The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium in collaboration with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp present the retrospective
exhibition of Rik Wouters , the one of the most brilliant Belgian artists of the early 20th century.
For the first time, the two museums bring together rare loans from private collections , the pieces of drawings, paintings,
sculptures and prints from major international museums to show us an extraordinary legacy of this artist.
Rik Wouters was born in Mechelen (Belgium) in 1882. His father had a furniture workshop and from very early age Rik helped him
in a studio where he created wooden details and decorations. At age of fifteen he started his studies of sculpture at the
Academy of Fine Arts in Mechelen.
In 1900 Wouters decided to move to Brussels where he became a student of the famous Belgian sculptor Charles Van der Stappen.
There he met his muse Hélène Duerinckx (Nel) who became his wife and favourite model. The financial troubles and
serious illness of Nel forced young family to leave the capital and to go to green suburban Boitsfort.
In countryside Wouters focused mainly on painting and studies of light.
He traveled to Paris and Cologne where he studied impressionist paintings especially by Cézanne and Van Gogh.
Wouters developed his own masterful style of luminous brightness of rich colour palette, strong composition and illusion
of shimmering light. His paintings exude domestic intimacy and harmony of nature.
And his vibrant visual language, a combination of Post-Impressionist techniques and simplicity of daily life scenes was highly
appreciated by his contemporaries.
The First World War changed his life dramatically. As a soldier he faced death, terror and witnessed destruction of Belgium.
Wouters ended up in a detention camp in Netherlands. To escape from brutal reality of war he carried on producing drawings and
aquarelles in the detention camp. Rik Wouters was only 33 when he passed away on 11 July 1916, leaving behind his beloved Nel and
huge artistic legacy of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures.