André WILLEQUET

1921: Born in Brussels.  

1923-40: He lives in Luxembourg where the family has settled. Living on the edge of the forest, he meets the wood he works with his child’s pocketknife and learns the rudiments from a local artist. 

1940: Back in Brussels, he joins Oscar Jespers’ sculpture studio at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels, La Cambre. The human dryness of the academic education he follows for five years greatly confuses him. 

1942: He meets Philippe Roberts-Jones, art historian and poet, future Chief Curator of the royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. From this comes a sincere friendship that would last over time.  

1947: He begins his first work in stone, the first of his three chosen media. He considers the raw material as a formal entity. He wins the second Rome Prize.

1948: Thanks to this prize, he travels to France where he immerses himself in Roman art and is interested in the relationship between sculpture and the environment. He meets Brancusi, Laurens and Zadkine from whom he learns lessons of humanism, humility and perseverance. 

1950: He joins the “Présence“ group for a single exhibition in opposition to Jeune Peinture Belge and in connection with Henry Moore, whom he admires. He is interested in the theme of maternity. He treats the subject with a succession of sensual curves. 

1951: Winner of the Louis Schmidt Prize. He receives the British Council scholarship, so he attends the Royal College of Art in London. During this exciting period, he makes his first works in wood, another favourite material that he would now cherish. He succeeds in extracting all the wealth from the weaknesses of wood. 

1952: He has his studio-house built in Uccle where he settles in 1954. He finds a new form of fullness, his sculptures explores the full and the empty. 

1955: Exhibition with Lismonde at the Veranneman gallery in Kortrijk.

1956: The Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels organises his first solo exhibition. His refined forms embrace the themes of the couple, death and sacredness. 

1958: For the Universal Exhibition, he is commissioned to design a sculpted panel to decorate “La Porte du Bénélux“.

1959: Scholarship holder of the Italian-Belgian agreements, he stays in Rome and Florence. He participates in the European Bildhauer Symposium in Austria where he works alongside Jacques Moeschal and Eugène Dodeigne, among others. This is the first opportunity for him to carve stone in the open-air. 

1960: A visit to Brittany inspires him new creations with rocky and eroded shapes. Like Henry Moore, he loves the evocative power of nature.

He discovers the lost wax technique, which allows the ex-nihilo creation in opposition to direct cutting. 

1961: New solo exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

1963: Solo exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum in Verviers.

1964: Solo exhibition at the Ostend Cultural Centre. A second workshop on the banks of the Ourthe allows him to work outdoors. 

1965: Third solo exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. First acquisition by the Middelheim of Antwerp (Grand Torso, 1962). He becomes a professor of sculpture at the School of Arts and Crafts in Etterbeek.

1966: Solo exhibition, gallery Space, Brussels.

1968: Solo exhibition of bronzes at the New Smith gallery at Richard Lucas in Brussels with whom he signs a contract. Solo exhibition, Veranneman gallery, Brussels. Ordering of seven bronzes for the labyrinth in the garden of the van Buuren Museum.

1970: First reliefs on paper (prints, monotypes).

1971: Creation of a sculpture for the Longchamps swimming pool in Uccle. 

1973: Major exhibitions at the University of Mexico and at the New Smith gallery, Brussels. 

1974: His wife Odette dies. Going through a difficult period, he discovers Buddhist philosophy, which influenced his artistic approach. Exhibition galerie Regard 17, Brussels. 

He is a founding member of the Artes Bruxellae group, which brings together  artists born in Brussels. 

1975: He is head of the School of Jewellery at the Institute of Arts and Crafts in Brussels until 1982. Exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts et de la Culture in Brest.

1978: Participation in the international open-air stone-cutting symposium in Avins-en-Condroz, every year until 1991.

1979: Solo exhibition, Ghislaine De Grijse gallery in Tielt. Exhibition with Antoine Mortier and Luc Hoenraet at the Delta gallery, Brussels. 

He marries Françoise Detry.

1980: He begins a series of bronze sculptures entitled Spaces in which the relationship between emptiness and matter is the subject.

Trip to New York. 

1981-84: He makes Arpège, a grid for the new Museum of Modern Art in Brussels.

1983: Journey to Egypt that influences his sculptures and their relationship to space.

1985: First monograph written by Philippe Roberts-Jones. 

1986: He is elected a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.

1987: Exhibition at the International Art Gallery in Lasne. Journey to Africa. 

1988: Solo exhibition, galerie du Triangle Bleu, Stavelot. 

1989: Exhibition with Alechinsky and Miró at galerie Léa Gredt, Luxembourg. 

1990: Exhibition, galerie Le Sacre du Printemps, Brussels.

1992: Participation in the International Symposium on Marble Sculpture in Thasos (Greece). 

1993: Stone-cutting symposium in the Alpes de Haute-Provence.

1994: Installation of one of his sculptures in the open-air museum of the Sart-Tilman of Liege.

1997: Commission for a work for Zaventem airport.

1998: André Willequet dies in Uccle on July 1st.

2002: First retrospective of the sculptor André Willequet at the Centre d’Art de Rouge-Cloître, Brussels.