48 Facts About Luc Tuymans


Luc Tuymans was born on 14 June 1958 and is a Belgian visual artist best known for his paintings which explore people's relationship with history and confront their ability to ignore it.


Luc Tuymans is a key figure of the generation of European figurative painters who gained renown at a time when many believed the medium had lost its relevance due to the new digital age.


Luc Tuymans was born in Mortsel close to the city of Antwerp on 14 June 1958.


Luc Tuymans's father was Belgian Flemish and his mother was Dutch.


Luc Tuymans later said this event gave him a sense of the path he had to take.


Luc Tuymans continued his studies at the National School of Visual Arts of La Cambre in Brussels, before going to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, where he gave up painting for filmmaking.


Luc Tuymans's first known painting dates from 1972 and the first public exhibited painting was created in 1977, entitled Self-Portrait.


Luc Tuymans was a student at the time, and submitted it to the national painting competition in Belgium, which he won.


From 1979 to 1980, Luc Tuymans worked in collaboration with Marc Schepers on two local projects entitled Morguen.


Between 1980 and 1985, Luc Tuymans stopped painting, dedicating himself to experimentation with film.


When Luc Tuymans resumed painting in 1985, he changed his technique, and since then he never spent more than a day working on a painting.


From 1978 on, Luc Tuymans' paintings centred on European memories of World War II, confronting Adorno's famous question whether art was impossible following the holocaust, and 'the collapse of any coherent tradition in painting' described by Peter Schjeldahl.


Luc Tuymans refers to nine of his paintings dating from 1978 to 1990 to support his ideas.


Luc Tuymans's exhibition Heimat, held in 1995 at the Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp and the Musee des Beaux Arts in Nantes, was a response to political events in Flanders and targeted Flemish nationalism.


In 2000, Luc Tuymans attracted attention with his series of political paintings Mwana Kitoko, inspired by King Baudouin of Belgium's state visit to the Congo in the 1950s.


Luc Tuymans however, described his decision as a deliberate strategy of 'sublimation': 'In Still-Life the idea of banality becomes larger than life, it is taken to an impossible extreme.


Since 2007, Luc Tuymans participated in over 200 group exhibitions and had over 30 solo shows in Europe, North America, and Asia.


Luc Tuymans contributed the painting Die Nacht, which refers to Hans-Jurgen Syberberg's epic 1985 film installation on German history.


Luc Tuymans installed hundreds of black balloons in the ruins of Zofiowka, a former hospital for people with mental health conditions.


In January 2015 Luc Tuymans was found guilty of plagiarism by a Belgian civil court after he used a photograph taken by Katrijn Van Giel as the source of his painting A Belgian Politician, a portrait of Jean-Marie Dedecker.


The British newspaper The Guardian supported the artist in this dispute, commenting on the way Luc Tuymans never makes photorealistic representations of original photos, and describing how 'his work bears witness to a career-long survey of all images.


Elsewhere in the interview, Luc Tuymans explained that he mostly draws from memory and that he finds it better not to start drawing immediately when he sees something, but that he draws 'on the basis of a fragmentary memory.


Luc Tuymans has made about 50 site-specific murals since the mid-1990s, five permanent and the rest temporary.


In 2007 Luc Tuymans executed a permanent mural based on Bloodstains on the ceiling of the ballroom of the former Ringtheater.


In February 2012, Luc Tuymans used the motif of Angel for a permanent mural created in the second balcony foyer of the Concertgebouw Brugge.


Luc Tuymans gave the Staatsschauspiel Dresden two permanent murals created for the main staircases of the building on Theaterstrasse in 2013.


The first mosaic Luc Tuymans made was Dead Skull, 2010, commissioned by the MAS Museum aan de Stroom as a permanent installation in the museum square on the Hanzestedenplaats in Antwerp.


The second mosaic Luc Tuymans made was Schwarzheide, made at the time of his exhibition La Pelle at Palazzo Grassi in 2019.


Luc Tuymans has explored various printing methods such as photocopy, inkjet, offset, monotype, screen-printing, lithography, etching, and silver gelatine prints, using unusual supports such as wallpaper, security glass and PVC.


The four-colour etching Isabel, Diorama, Scramble, Twenty Seventeen for example, is based on iPhone photographs Luc Tuymans took while painting.


The paint strokes Luc Tuymans placed in the margin of the painting and at the edges of the canvas are incorporated in the etched image.


Luc Tuymans: Selected Works from the Stadel Collection, an exhibition held at the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt am Main in 2009.


Luc Tuymans has engaged in pedagogical work, and was a guest tutor at the Dutch institute Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, where he mentored and influenced emerging painters such as the Polish artist Paulina Olowska, and the Serbian-born artist Ivan Grubanov.


In 2008, Luc Tuymans took on the Max Beckmann Foundation Professorship at the Stadelschule, a role previously held by William Kentridge.


Jahrhundert organized for the exhibition Painting on the Move at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Luc Tuymans participated in a panel discussion on the significance of painting in relation to new media, moderated by the art historian Beat Wyss, with the philosopher Hubert Damisch, the art historians Yve-Alain Bois, Bruno Haas, and Denys Zacharopoulos, and the artist and art historian Hans-Dieter Huber.


In 2003, Luc Tuymans held a public talk at the Kunstverein Hannover, and in 2004 he lectured at the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, at the Mauritshuis in The Hague where he gave a lecture entitled On Peter Paul Rubens, at the deSingel in Antwerp as part of the program Curating the Library, and at the Dresdner Bank in Berlin during the conference Europa eine Seele geben: Berliner Konferen fur europaische Kulturpolitik.


Over 100 solo exhibitions of Luc Tuymans' paintings were staged between 1985 and 2016, including over 70 international solo exhibitions.


Luc Tuymans chose Ostend because of James Ensor and Leon Spilliaert, two painters who had a profound influence on his artistic development and whose connection with the city gave it a spiritual significance for him.


Besides his parents and a handful of friends, few people saw the exhibition, but it was nonetheless crucial, because it was the first time Luc Tuymans saw his work outside the studio.


In 1992, Luc Tuymans made an international breakthrough in his career.


Luc Tuymans concluded this first period of his career with a retrospective exhibition held in Krefeld in 1993 at the Museum Haus Lange, Krefelder Kunstmuseen in the two residential houses turned contemporary art museums Haus Lange and Haus Esters.


Luc Tuymans participated in over 350 group exhibitions between 1985 and 2016, including more than 300 international exhibitions.


In 2019, Luc Tuymans gained a lot of exposure with his exhibition La Pelle at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.


In 2007, Luc Tuymans was appointed Commander of the Order of Leopold of Belgium by King Albert II, in 2013, he was made a Foreign Honorary Member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, and the Academy of Arts in Berlin.


Luc Tuymans holds several academic honours, including an honorary doctorate for overall cultural merit bestowed by the Royal College of Art in 2015, an honorary doctorate bestowed by the University of Arts in Poznan in 2014, and an honorary doctorate for overall cultural merit bestowed by the University of Antwerp in 2006.


In 2008, Luc Tuymans received the Max Beckmann Foundation award at the Stadelschule.


In 2013, Luc Tuymans was awarded the Flemish Culture Award for Visual Arts and in 2020 the Ultima award for 'General Cultural Merit'.


Luc Tuymans was born in Mortsel near Antwerp on 14 June 1958, and he continues to live in Antwerp today.