DE VINCK Antoine

(1924 -1992)
de vinck
  • Bétyle, stoneware, 1974-1975

    H : 35, 5 x 47 cm

     

    This Bétyle is from the collection of Emiel Veranneman. Following his death in 2003 in dramatic circumstances, his vast collection was partially dispersed and the building in which he had intended to house it, in Kruishoutem, was emptied and sold.

    Jardins de Belgique, published in 1989, includes a photograph of the grounds around the Veranneman Foundation. The Bétyle is clearly seen in the foreground, swathed in chlorophyll…

    The style suggests this is an early work, no doubt one of the very first Bétyles which Antoine de Vinck ever made.

    It can be recognised on a photo of Antoine de Vinck in the room where he showed his work in Kraainem, in December 1975.

    It was included in the retrospective at the Musée Royal de Mariemont in 1986.

  • Bétyle, stoneware, 1974-1975

    H : 35, 5 x 47 cm

     

    This Bétyle is from the collection of Emiel Veranneman. Following his death in 2003 in dramatic circumstances, his vast collection was partially dispersed and the building in which he had intended to house it, in Kruishoutem, was emptied and sold.

    Jardins de Belgique, published in 1989, includes a photograph of the grounds around the Veranneman Foundation. The Bétyle is clearly seen in the foreground, swathed in chlorophyll…

    The style suggests this is an early work, no doubt one of the very first Bétyles which Antoine de Vinck ever made.

    It can be recognised on a photo of Antoine de Vinck in the room where he showed his work in Kraainem, in December 1975.

    It was included in the retrospective at the Musée Royal de Mariemont in 1986.

  • Idole, stoneware, 1980.

  • Idole, stoneware, 1980

Born in 1924 in the Belgian province of Brabant, Antoine de Vinck grew up in a well-to-do family that encouraged manual and artistic pastimes. He studied theology with the intent of becoming a Missionary of Africa, although art continued to take up a large part of his time. The themes he developed during the 1940s, in calligraphy, wood and ivory carving, linocut, etc., were almost entirely Christian.

Ultimately his love of art would prove stronger. Antoine de Vinck’s first contact with clay had probably been through his elder brother Charles-Albert, who modelled animals with considerable skill. It was, however, in the company of his friend Guy de Sauvage, and with the help of Bernard Leach’s book, that he began to learn pottery in earnest. Both self-taught, they built a first wood-fired kiln together.

So as to complete his training, in 1951 Antoine de Vinck enrolled at the Institut Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs de la Cambre in Brussels, where he studied under ceramist Pierre Caille, as well as attending classes by the sculptor Oscar Jespers. While at the school he met numerous artists and future friends.

He left after a year – perhaps too confined in an academic setting – and set out to meet working ceramists, many of them in France. He visited Jeanne and Norbert Pierlot (he was one of their first apprentices, in 1952), Jean and Jacqueline Lerat, and Brother Daniel de Montmollin with whom he developed a lasting bond. He would later meet Bernard Leach in Cornwall.

In 1955, de Vinck set up his studio in Kraainem, east of Brussels, where he built his second wood kiln. He started work on a series of utilitarian objects, and continued research he had begun several years earlier into sculpture with religious and animal subjects. He confirmed his love of wood-fired stoneware. A patient observer with an inquiring mind, he found inspiration in nature, and in ancient and traditional arts.

In 1961 he joined Lucien Kroll, Emile Souply, Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt and Luc Van Malderen to form the Design Group, which remained active for the next ten years. As part of the group, he produced a number of industrial design projects, and contributed to reflections on design’s role in society. His work as a designer led him towards materials other than ceramic: wood, plastic, metal. He created children’s toys, lamps, mirrors, tableware, ashtrays, even a folding display cabinet. He also imagined, this time in ceramic, a range of crockery with simple, rigorous forms. He also worked with the Design Centre in Brussels.

In 1962 he was selected to take part in the Contemporary Master Potters exhibition in Paris, proof that de Vinck had earned the recognition of his peers. He was the youngest potter among such respected names as Antoni Cumella, Francine Del Pierre, Jean Derval, Shoji Hamada, Georges Jouve, Bernard Leach, Jacqueline and Jean Lerat, Monique and Yves Mohy, Jeanne and Norbert Pierlot, Raji Raija Tuumi, and Daniel de Montmollin.

Throughout these years he opened his studio to apprentices, including Pierre Culot and Petra Weiss. At the same time he continued to develop his work as a sculptor, and in 1970 won a prize at the Faenza international competition, for Arbre. His knowledge of casting techniques led to a dozen sculptures in iron or bronze.

During the 1970s, de Vinck insisted on the “significance” of the titles he gave his works: Bétyles, Stèles, Miroirs d’âmes, etc. These reflected his fascination for spiritually charged objects. Each work is the synthesis of the archetypes that filled his mind and his imagination. The decade was marked by his Idoles, evocations of unknown, universal divinities. By now he was using sheets of clay which he assembled to give volume to his sculptures.

While never abandoning his first medium of clay, he and his wife, Alice, also made porcelain (jewellery, boxes, bowls, vases) and raku ware. In 1977 he joined other potters at the Symposium in La Borne. That same year he was elected to the International Academy of Ceramics.

He never underestimated the importance of drawing and sketching, and the drawings he made from nature inspired forms and patterns which he incorporated into his pottery. Preparatory sketching was always a moment of intense creation; only a small proportion of these sketches were then transposed into three dimensions, in clay.

In 1984 Antoine de Vinck and his family moved to Puisaye, near Ratilly. He remained an active member of the Belgian scene (“Namur Bouge” in 1984, “Briksteen” in 1987). He forged links with Germany, showing his work in Hanover and in Munich, as well as taking part in a Symposium in 1988. Locally, he was involved with the Association des Potiers Créateurs in Puisaye, which he chaired for a number of years.

The work of Antoine de Vinck has been shown multiple times at exhibitions in Belgium, as well as in New York, Johannesburg, Warsaw, Ankara, Vienna, London and Paris. The Musée Royal de Mariemont staged a retrospective in 1986. Another retrospective is planned at Keramis in La Louvière, Belgium, for 2016.