(1887-1966)

Painter and graphic artist.

Born in Brussels.

Studied painting under his father, artist Eugène Creten.

Participated in exhibitions from 1913.

Founder of the “L’Art vivant“ group.

Died in Brussels.

 

 

Detailed Biography

Georges Creten, a Belgian Fauvist and Expressionist artist, is best known for his female portraits and nudes.

Creten was born in the Brussels commune Saint-Gilles on March 14, 1887.

Georges got his first drawing lessons from his father, decorator Eugène Creten. At the age of fifteen he started attending the Brussels Academy of Art, where he studied under the renowned sculptor Julien Dillens. His education did not last long, although he can hardly be called as a self-taught artist.

In 1904 Georges helped his father decorate the beautiful Cursaal palace in the seaside township of Oostende; today the palace houses a casino and a concert hall. When working there, Georges Creten met the famed Belgian artist James Ensor, who resided in Oostende.

Ensor was a recognized artist; he participated in many exhibitions, but had a somewhat scandalous reputation because of his paintings on religious themes and innovative pictorial idiom. He greatly influenced the development of Expressionism and Surrealism, in particular, 20th-century artists such as Paul Klee, Emil Nolde and Georges Grosz. After his works had been declined by several official exhibitions, he organized “Les XX“ group in 1883 and “La Libre Esthétique” in 1993 and for 20 years, till the outbreak of World War I, when the Germans invaded Brussels, staged independent exhibitions in the Belgian capital, showing both group members and guest masters, among the latter Paul Signac, Odilon Redon and Paul Gauguin.

Undoubtedly, personal contact with such an outstanding personality as James Ensor strongly influenced the work of the young artist. Later, in 1906, Creten visited Paris and got fascinated by Impressionism. From 1910 onwards he changed his style and started painting with more powerful brushstrokes and a brighter colour palette. Together with the Belgian artist and sculptor Rik Wouters he became a co-founder of “Brabant Fauvism”. Inspired by the freedom offered by Impressionism, the members of the group rejected Symbolism and fully fell under the influence of James Ensor. They sought to use explicit visual idiom, clear rich colors and precise composition in their creations. Georges Creten, however, did not contribute to the group’s exhibitions but continued to search for his own style rather than following that of the Fauvists.

From 1916 he evolved towards a more stylized Expressionist movement.

Creten participated in the Sélection gallery exhibition in 1921 and staged his first solo exhibit at La Centaure in 1922. In 1923 he contributed to the exhibition at the Manteau gallery and in 1924 exhibited at the Salon de l’Art Contemporain in Anvers.

Cretan was among the co-founders of “L’Art Vivant” group and organized the group’s exhibitions at Galérie Giroux (Georges Giroux made a great contribution to supporting modern art in Belgium and advancing art and culture in general; he hosted a Kandinsky exhibition in his gallery as early as 1913).

He became famous for his portraits and nudes, also landscapes and still lives. He drew inspiration from travels to Egypt, Rome, Venice and Florence, where he admired the architecture and local color.

Georges Creten’s works can be found in museum collections in Brussels, Gand, Ixelles, and also in private collections in Europe and now in Russia.

In 1925 R. de Bendère published an article about Creten’s work in the Artistes d’Aujourd’hui almanac and an entry devoted to him has been included in a dictionary of Belgian artists. In 1959 Jean Mogin published a monograph about Creten’s life and work.

Georges Creten died in Brussels in 1966.

 

 

Solo exhibitions in Belgium:

1922, 1926, 1930  – La Centaure gallery (famous for its contract with Rene Magritte in 1926-1929), Brussels

1923, 1933 – Manteau gallery, Brussels

1946 – retrospective at Galérie Giroux, Brussels

1949, 1952, 1957 – Cheval de Verre gallery, Brussels

1953 – La Sirène gallery, Brussels

1960 – retrospective at Musée d’Ixelles

 

Group Exhibitions:

1924 – Salon de l’Art Contemporain in Anvers, Belgium

1924 – Venice Biennale, Italy

1928 – Belgian art at Jeu de Paume, Paris, France

1931 – exhibition of “L’Art Vivant” group at Galérie Giroux and Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

1935 – exhibition at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, USA

1938 – “Compagnons de l’Art” exhibition, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

1946 – UNESCO exhibition, Paris, France,

1958 – L’Exposition Universelle, Brussels