Fred Bervoets

° 1942

Born in Burcht (BE), lives in Antwerp (BE).

As a painter, graphic artist and teacher, Fred Bervoets (b. 1942) is a living legend in the Antwerp art scene. Artistically, he is a man of extremes: he paints expressive, highly populated scenes on wall-filling canvases, in a style that is poised between post-Cobra and Fauvism. At the same time he is the patron and promoter of the noble craft of printmaking. With great attention to detail in his line drawings, he engraves his etchings with nitric acid in zinc printing plates. Initially, his etchings are autonomous creations, yet gradually he starts utilising the engraving technique as a base to be finished and overpainted afterwards. This results in a varied, almost playful oeuvre that is always based on his own life and environment, and that can best be described as an Ensorian mishmash of self-mockery and irony. Bervoets often places a caricature of himself amidst the scenes he depicts; as such, his work reveals itself as a direct representation of his vision of the world. That world is crowded and ramshackle, full of anecdotal references and reminiscences. His visible enthusiasm and artistic vitality make him a valued teacher at the Art Academy of Antwerp, where for decades he has transmitted his vision and craftsmanship to new generations who see in him a direct descendant of the classical Old Masters.

Text: Hans Willemse
Translations: Michael Meert

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