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Mechelaere Leo

Bruges 1880 – 1964 Erlangen

Belgian Painter

A View of Bruges – The Meebridge

Signature: signed lower right
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: image size 100 x 111 cm, frame size 122 x 132 cm

Leo Mechelaere, or Leon Mechelaere as he was sometimes known, emerged from the cobblestone streets of Bruges, Belgium, in 1880, destined to leave an indelible mark on the canvas of art history. Born into a world of rich cultural heritage and artistic inspiration, Mechelaere’s passion for painting ignited early, fueling a lifelong journey of creative exploration.

His formative years were steeped in the traditions of the Academy of Fine Arts in Bruges, where he honed his craft under the tutelage of esteemed masters. Among them, Edouard Van Hove (1851 – 1913) and Franz Courtens (1850 – 1943) imparted their wisdom, guiding Mechelaere’s hand as he navigated the intricacies of form, light, and color. Under the mentorship of Juliaan De Vriendt (1842 – 1935), Mechelaere’s artistic vision expanded, laying the groundwork for the distinctive style that would come to define his work. He became a painter and also watercolorist of urban scenes, landscapes, interiors, portraits and still life paintings.

Urban scenes became Mechelaere’s canvas of choice, where bustling streets and quiet corners alike found expression beneath his brush. From the picturesque charm of Bruges to the tranquil landscapes of Damme and Lissewege, Mechelaere captured the essence of each locale with unparalleled sensitivity. His paintings pulsated with life, each stroke a testament to his deep connection to the ever-changing rhythms of the city.

Yet, life’s path is as winding as a brushstroke, and Mechelaere’s journey led him beyond the borders of his beloved Bruges. Health concerns prompted a move to Erlangen, Germany, where he continued to paint, infusing his surroundings with the same luminous vitality that characterized his earlier works. Despite the distance, Mechelaere remained a stalwart member of the Bruges Colony, his influence reverberating through the artistic community.

Today, Mechelaere’s legacy endures, his paintings cherished in private collections and revered in public institutions such as the Groeninge Museum of Arts in Bruges. Through his art, Mechelaere invites us to see the world through his eyes, to feel the pulse of a city, and to revel in the beauty that surrounds us.


Le Dictionnaire des Peintres Belges du XIVe siècle à nos jours, La Renaissance Du Livre;

Paul Piron, De Belgische Beeldende Kunstenaars uit de 19de en 20ste eeuw, Art in Belgium;

Biografisch Lexicon Plastische Kunst in België, Schilders Beeldhouders Grafici 1830 – 2000, Arto 2000.

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