Antoine Mortier
artist / painter

Antoine Mortier became an apprentice, at the age of fifteen, in a decorative sculpture workshop. On the advice of his employer, he enrolled at the Academy where he attended the courses modeling, perspective and drawing from the Antiquity.

In 1940, Mortier became a chorister at the “Théâtre de la Monnaie”. He continued for seven years to exercise in the morning, the fur business while after rehearsals in the afternoon. Many drawings including those of his chorister dressing room, nudes in charcoal and sketches from life testify to this period such as “Black Bread” from 1944 and also “Flasks” from 1946. His compositions identified with forms of a black outline are not unrelated to the Expressionism of Sint-Martens-Latem or by the French painter Georges Rouault.

Contacted by the director Robert Delevoy of the “Apollo gallery” and the Group “La Jeune Peinture Belge”, he was amongst their members, with whom he exhibited collectively in Paris and Amsterdam. He resigned quickly afterwards from the group following the takeover of French artists and his refusal to compromise.

He left the theatre and started devoting all of his time to painting. Brushed in broad strokes with Indian ink, expressed the gradual transition from figuration to abstraction over these years.

Antoine Mortier had two artist residencies on Isola Comacina at the Como Lake in Italy from 1962 until 1964. He created in 1983, on behalf of the public Brussels transport network, two senior steel reliefs to commemorate the glory of the First World War.

In 1986, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the Palace of Fine Arts dedicated a second retrospective, the first presenting pictorial work, the second, larger wash and gouaches that made the controversy of artistic press in the 1950s. These two events allow official recognition of a masterful job. The press is positive and for the public, it is a discovery. Antoine Mortier died in 1999 at the age of 90 years. Several exhibitions were organized in Belgium and France to pay tribute.

[Boon Gallery]