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The 40 paintings on-board TEE trains

In 1963, when the Paris – Brussels - Amsterdam line was fully electrified, the NMBS/SNCB and the SNCF put into service a new generation of international carriages operating under the Trans Europ Express (TEE) label. In order to highlight Belgium’s artistic talent, the NMBS/SNCB commissioned a set of four paintings from ten Belgian painters. These works decorated the 1st class carriages of the Belgian railways.

Among the designated artists, Paul Delvaux, an emblematic painter of stations and trains, designed four original works. Since September 2019, these four works have been exhibited at Train World. Alongside this famous painter, nine other painters contributed to the decoration of the famous TEE of the time, including René Guiette, Maurice Boel or Jules Lismonde.


Discover here all of these works:


René Guiette 

12/10/1893, Antwerpen – 19/10/1976, Wilrijk
René Guiette was an artist as intelligent as he was sensitive, whose interest came to focus on the plastic arts renewal of his time. He was a self-taught painter who, from 1932, almost exclusively dedicated himself to photography.  From 1946, he held a position as professor of photography at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels La Cambre (La Cambre National School for the Visual Arts).
His work is characterised by some borrowing from Outsider Art and sometimes, a more meditative style. The four works done for the TEE can be placed in the informal art movement.


Marc Mendelson

06/11/1915, London – 12/08/2013, Uccle
Marc Mendelson studied at the Academie van Schone Kunsten in Antwerp from 1934 to 1939 where he was a student of Isidoor Opsomer and Gustave Van de Woestyne. He co-founded Jeune Peinture Belge (the Young Belgian Painters group in 1945) and the Espace group of artists (in 1952). The evolution in Mendelson’s work is characterised by four major periods: Young Belgian Painting, abstract, matièrisme (matter art) and, through watercolour, a return to the figurative. The four works done for the TEE can be placed in the matter art movement.


Jan Cox

02/08/1919, Den Haag – 07/10/1980, Antwerpen
Belgian painter Jan Cox spent most of his youth in Amsterdam where he painted a mural on the wall of his school aula (at the Barlaeus Gymnasium). That same year he moved to Antwerp where he took courses at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten). In 1945, Cox with other artists, founded the Young Belgian Painters group. From 1948, he turned his eye towards the United States. This is how he came to show his works at the famous Curt Valentin Gallery in New York and in 1956 he went on to head the painting department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. On returning to Belgium in 1974, he returned to the circle of artists at the De Zwarte Panter gallery in Antwerp.


Maurice Boel

02/02/1913, Ostende – 27/03/1998, Ostende
Maurice Boel was trained at the Royal Academy (Académie Royale de Bruxelles) before studying in Paris at La Grande Chaumière (1950). During his career as a painter he evolved towards the abstract and received a mention from the Young Belgian Painter competition. In addition to painting, Boel also completed rug projects.
The four paintings that he produced for the TEE trains are an example of lyrical abstraction.


Luc Peire

07/07/1916, Brugge – 01/02/1994, Paris
Artist Luc Peire followed courses at Stedelijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Bruges (1932-1936), at the Hoger Architectuurinstituut Sint-Lucas in Ghent (1932-1936) and at the Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp (1936-1939). His work saw a variety of evolutions. Following in the footsteps of his good friend Constant Permeke, his early work is very expressionist. At the end of the World War Two, he evolved towards a constructive-abstract art in which verticalism dominated. The artist himself described this as a reduction and a personal styling of the human figure going so far as to represent man as a spiritual being, symbolised in their vertical movement and fitting into a space made of balance.  From 1952 to 1955, he stayed in the Belgian Congo. On his return, his form language had become purely abstract.


Pierre Vlerick

29/10/1923, Gent – 14/08/1999, Gent
Pierre Vlerick alternated studies at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts and at l’Académie de La Grande Chaumière in Paris. As (guest) Professor and head of various institutions, he also completed a considerable body of work as a painter. He was a significant representative of what is called lyrical abstraction. Through his paintings, he sought to reproduce the sensuality used to show what cannot rationally be expressed. His favourite theme is that of the sensual woman.
Pierre Vlerick won various prizes and scholarships, especially in the United Stated and he took part in various exhibitions, both in Belgium and abroad, including the Venice biennale.


Jules Lismonde

14/05/1908, Anderlecht – 12/03/2001, Linkebeek
Jules Lismonde started his career as a painter in the figurative domain, before quickly moving towards highly personal linear abstract painting. He was a student at the Academies of Brussels and Saint Josse-ten-Node. In 1930, he exhibited his works in Brussels for the first time. During the 1940s, he took part in the Amsterdam and Zurich exhibitions as a member of the Young Belgian Painters group. He is especially famous for the large decorative works that he painted at public locations like the Pétillon metro station and the Royal Library. He also took part in the Venice and Sao Paulo biennials, bringing him international recognition.


Roger Dudant

10/3/1929, Laplaigne – 4/05/2008, Péruwelz
Roger Dudant studied at the Tournai Academy and at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels La Cambre. He was a student of Paul Delvaux. Dudant’s works are almost entirely monochromatic and especially use shades of grey and brown. They comprise landscapes, both natural and industrial. The search for the essential is so extreme that it is no longer possible to distinguish the natural starting point. His compositions are completed transformations of observed realities.
Dudant showed his works regularly in Belgium and abroad. He especially received the Young Belgian Painter’s prize in 1954. In 1964, with four other members, he founded the Hainaut Cinq group of five painters. During the 1970s, he was a part of the Visual research group (Groupe des recherches visuelles). He also worked to order. The most well known of these works is a mosaic that is nine metres long in one of the corridors of the Parc metro station in Brussels.


Léon Navez

05/07/1900, Mons – 27/08/1967, Auderghem
Leon Navez studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Mons and also at the one in Brussels where he was a student of Anto Carte, Herman Richir and Jean Delville. From 1924 to 1928, he worked as a designer in Paris. Soon afterwards, he completed some murals painted for the 1935 universal exhibition held in Brussels. He received a variety of prizes for his work, including the Rome Prize (1928), the Hainaut Prize (1930) and the Godecharle Prize (1934). Léon Navez was also a member of the Nervia group of artists whose main aim was to promote Walloon art. 


Paul Delvaux

23/09/1897, Antheit – 20/07/1994, Furnes
Paul Delvaux started his career in 1924 when he was part of the Le Sillon group exhibition. His characteristic poetic style, studded with surrealist improbabilities only surfaced during an exhibition held in 1936 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts at the same time as an exhibition of works by René Magritte. Over the following years, he developed his unique style and gained international celebrity by taking part in the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme (International Surrealism Exhibition) held by Marcel Duchamp in Paris, in January 1938. From London to Tokyo, international exhibitions followed until ten years prior to his death. He won a number of prices like the Prix Picard (1938) and the Prix Rembrandt (1973).

                                                                                                            © Foundation Paul Delvaux, St. Idesbald / SABAM, 2019


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