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Van Neste Alfred

Bruges 1874 – 1969 Sint-Genesius-Rode

Belgian Painter 

Old House on a Bruges Canal

Signature: signed lower right
Medium: mixed media on board
Dimensions: image size 70 x 49,50 cm, frame size 90,50 x 70,50 cm

Alfred Van Neste Joseph Auguste, a versatile artist known for his prowess in painting, etching, and illustration, was born on the 4th of March, 1874, in the charming city of Bruges. His parents, August Van Neste, a skilled watchmaker, and Virginie Marie Zwanepoel, nurtured his early years. This artistic luminary left an indelible mark on the world, passing away in Sint-Genesius-Rode in March 1969, only days after commemorating his remarkable 95th birthday. While his physical presence has faded, his creative legacy continues to thrive.

His lifelong journey unfolded against the backdrop of Antwerp, a city that warmly embraced him. Over time, he also found solace in Kalmthout, where he resided with his son following the loss of his beloved wife.

The seeds of his artistic destiny were sown in his youth. Alfred’s cousins, the accomplished Bruges artists Hendrik Pickery and Flori Van Acker, introduced him to the world of art. Under the tutelage of Flori Van Acker, Alfred flourished as an apprentice in the studio for an impressive five years. Fate intertwined with his aspirations when he was conscripted into an army regiment in Antwerp, leading him to the hallowed halls of the Academy. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a lifelong commitment to his craft.

A defining chapter of his journey commenced with his triumph in an art stamp design competition for an international exhibition in Brussels. This accolade paved the way for a prolific career as a book illustrator, with notable contributions including the anniversary edition of “The Lion of Flanders.” Posters and costumes bore his creative imprint, reflecting his diverse talents. At the age of 27, Alfred was appointed as a teacher of antiquities and costume at the esteemed Antwerp Academy, a role that allowed him to nurture the talents of future generations.

In his artistic odyssey, he forged a profound friendship with Peter Benoit, a renowned figure in the world of music. It was Alfred who received the poignant task of crafting a death mask of Peter Benoit as commissioned by the Antwerp City Council. This act of creative homage captured the essence of their bond.

Alfred’s artistry transcended boundaries, with his paintings and etchings adorning museums and private collections worldwide. His masterpieces found a home in cultural institutions across Bruges and Antwerp, testaments to his enduring impact.

“Like migratory birds returning, he painted Bruges with regularity.”

Alfred Van Neste’s etchings resonated deeply with art enthusiasts, his intricate lines and compelling narratives resonating across time. His dedication to his craft led to enduring success, a legacy that continues to flourish.

In the tapestry of art history, Alfred Van Neste’s name shines brightly, a luminary whose creativity enriched the world and continues to inspire generations.

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