Henri-Jacques-Édouard Evenepoel
Nationality: 
belgian
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1872
Birth Place: 
Nice
Death Date: 
1899
Death Place: 
Paris
A Belgian painter, etcher and lithographer, Henri-Jacques-Édouard Evenepoel spent most of his working life in Paris during the 1890s. Born in Nice while his parents were on vacation, he lost his mother when he was two, after which his father moved the family to live with grandparents, near Brussels. His father Edmond Evenepoel (1846-1931) was a senior civil servant in the Finance Ministry and a musicologist, who instilled in his son a life-long love of music. In Brussels, Evenepoel studied art in the studios of Ernest Blanc-Garin (1843-1916) and Adolphe Crespin (1859-1944) and architecture at the Académie des Beaux-Arts with Ernest Acker (1852-1912). In 1892 he moved to Paris, staying for three years with his cousin Louise and her husband Michel De Mey. Evenepoel entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, studying with Pierre Victor Galland (1822-1892), a well-known decorator. After Galland’s death, Evenepoel studied with Gustave Moreau (1826-18989) for four years, beginning in 1893. He was introduced to Georges Rouault 1871-1958) and Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in Moreau’s classes, and became good friends with Matisse. While studying with Moreau, Evenepoel painted, designed posters and prepared illustrations for an edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809-1849) works. Evenepoel first exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1894, showing a painting portraying his cousin Louise, Portrait de Madame D (1894, Koninklijk Museum voor 
Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium), one of his best portraits. He later had an affair with Louise, leading to the birth of their son, Charles. He exhibited in Paris at the Salons du Champ de Mars for the rest of his short life, and had a solo exhibition in Brussels in 1897. Evenepoel is particularly known for his full-length portraits, reminiscent of the figure paintings of Édouard Manet (1832-1883), and for genre paintings, showing the influence of Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). He used a palette of darker tones for many of his paintings, although the paintings done while he was in Algeria during the winter of 1897-98 and many of his lithographs show a lively use of color that some scholars see as a precursor of Fauvism. Evenepoel’s lithograph Au square [At the Square], printed in five bright colors and published in May, 1897, as part of Charles Masson and Henri Piazza’s print portfolio, L’estampe moderne, is a good example of his use of color. While like many artists Evenepoel recorded observations in sketchbooks, he also used a small camera to record his observations and accumulated a large number of photographs. He died in Paris in 1899 from typhoid fever. In 1900 his work was shown in the exhibition of the Libre Esthétique in Brussels and in the same year his painting L’Espagnol à Paris—Portrait du peintre Francisco Iturrino (1899, The Spaniard in Paris, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, Belgium) was shown at the Paris Exposition Universelle. (TNB 3/2010) Selected bibliography: Chartrain-Hebbelinck, Marie-Jeanne. “Henri Evenepoel: A Belgian Precursor of Fauvism”, Apollo, vol. 94, pp. 293–9 (1971). Hyslop, Francis. E. Henri Evenepoel: Belgian Painter in Paris, 1892–1899, University Park: 1975.