Luc Tuymans

Luc Tuymans
Luc Tuymans 01.jpg
Tuymans at the opening of his exhibition Against the Day at WIELS Contemporary Art Center, Brussels, April 2009.
Known forContemporary art
Spouse(s)Carla Arocha

Luc Tuymans (born 1958) is a Belgian artist who lives and works in Antwerp. Tuymans is considered one of the most influential painters working today.[1][2] His signature figurative paintings transform mediated film, television, and print sources into examinations of history and memory.[3]

Early life and education

Tuymans was born in Mortsel near Antwerp, Belgium. Tuymans's mother's family had worked in the Dutch resistance and hid refugees.[4] His Belgian Flemish father[5] later revealed that two of his brothers had been in the Hitler Youth.[4] Tuymans began his studies in the fine arts at the Sint-Lukasinstituut in Brussels in 1976. At the age of 19 Tuymans encountered a series of El Greco paintings in Budapest while working as a guard for a European railway company.[6] Subsequently, he studied fine arts at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in Brussels, Belgium (1979–1980) and at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, Belgium (1980–1982). He abandoned painting in 1982, studying art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels (1982–6), and spent three years experimenting with video and film until 1985.[7]


View of The Fence in Casa Serralves (Oporto), work by Tuymans and Miroslaw Balka

Tuymans emerged in at a time when there were not many new contemporary painters making, or using imagistic paintings; others include John Currin or Elizabeth Peyton.[8] Tuymans' subjects range from major historical events, such as the Holocaust or the politics of the Belgian Congo, to the inconsequential and banal: wallpaper patterns, Christmas decorations, everyday objects.[1] Tuymans first made his mark in the 1980s, when he began to explore Europe's memories of World War II with harsh, elegant paintings like Gas Chamber (1986), which depicts the Dachau concentration camp.[9] His "Heritage paintings", inspired by a mood which he perceived in the US after the Oklahoma City bombing, depict normal, almost stereotypical American imagery, for example: two baseball caps; Mount Rushmore; the image of a man working; a portrait; a birthday cake; the series also included a portrait of wealthy Ku Klux Klansman Joseph Milteer.[10] The artist later aroused interest in 2000 with his series of political paintings titled Mwana Kitoko ("beautiful boy"), which take themes out of the state visit of King Baudouin of Belgium in the Congo in the 1950s. The works were exhibited in 2000 at the David Zwirner Gallery and the following year in the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The most noted painting was of the king himself in his white military uniform.

Integral to the Tuyman's practice is the reliance on existing visual materials, including drawings, photographs, and film stills.[11] He started to use Polaroids in 1995.[12] The artist's sparsely-colored, figurative are typically painted with fleet brush strokes of wet paint on wet paint on a modest scale and derive their subjects from pre-existing imagery which includes photographs and video stills, and often appear slightly out-of-focus.[13] The blurriness is actually sharp because, unlike with Gerhard Richter, it is not wiped away but just painted.[14] His paintings embrace a number of formal and conceptual oppositions, echoed in Tuymans’s own explanation that "sickness should appear in the way the painting is made," yet in "caressing the painting" there is also pleasure in its making. These statements are characteristic of Tuymans’s self-conscious and tenaciously semantic shaping of the philosophical content in his work.[15] Tuymans often works in series, a method whereby one image can generate another and where images can be formulated and then reformulated. He continuously analyses and distils his images, making many drawings, photocopies and watercolours before making the high-intensity oil paintings.[16] The final painting is completed in a single day. [17]Two early series are the cycle Die Zeit (Time) (1988) about the holocaust; Heimat (German for ‘homeland’) (1996), paintings in which Tuymans sketches a wry picture of the revived self-awareness of the Flemish nationalist;[18] and the series Passion (1999) about the essence of religious belief.[19] Between 2007 and 2009 Tuymans worked on a triptych, which began with Les Revenants and Restoration (2007) about the power of the Jesuit Order; continued with Forever. The Management of Magic, relating to the world phenomenon Walt Disney; and ended with Against the Day (2009), a series on TV reality shows.[20]

At documenta 11 in 2002, where the selection of work that year focused on works of art with political or social commentary, many expected Tuymans to make new works in response to the New York attacks on 11 September 2001. Instead he presented a simple still-life executed on a massive scale, deliberately ignoring all reference to world events,[21] leading to negative critiques.[22]

In January 2015 Tuymans was found guilty of plagiarism by a Belgian civil court after he used a photograph taken by Katrijn Van Giel as the source for his painting "A Belgian Politician" (2011),[23] a portrait of Belgian politician Jean-Marie Dedecker.[24] Tuymans appealed the ruling claiming that that painting was protected under parody grounds, and was a critique of Belgian conservatism,[24][24] the pair came to a reportedly amicable but confidential out-of-court settlement in October 2015.[23]

In May 2015, Tuymans held a solo exhibition titled Le Mépris (which loosely translates as 'contempt') at David Zwirner, New York. The paintings exhibited in the show were in part inspired by his personal history and photographs, such as his memories of working on floats as a child.[25] Paintings such as Murky Water I (2015) explores the idea of passivity or floating which, according to the artist:

You see an idea of floating time. In paintings, painted time is something different than real time. You could say there is an element of melancholy, of nostalgia, but it's kind of twisted in a way.[26]


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


Tuymans represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale in 2001.[27] He has been the focus of several retrospectives at various international institutions, including the Műcsarnok Kunsthalle in Budapest, Hungary; Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany; the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland; the Tate Modern, London, England (2004); Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; Musee d'Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva, Switzerland (both 2006); and, most recently (2011) the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium. The artist’s first comprehensive U.S. retrospective opened in September 2009 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and travelled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Art[28] and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Against the Day, an exhibition of works inspired by one of Tuymans' favorite authors, Thomas Pynchon, originated at Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, and subsequently travelled to Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow, and Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden.

In 1992, Tuymans was invited to show at documenta for the first time.[29] His numerous, recent group exhibitions have since included Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy (2009); Collecting Collections: Highlights from the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California; Doing it My Way: Perspectives in Belgian Art, Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisburg, Germany (2008); What is Painting? Contemporary Art From the Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Fast Forward: Collections for the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; The Painting of Modern Life, Hayward Gallery, London, England and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2007); Essential Painting, National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Infinite Painting: Contemporary Painting and Global Realism, Villa Manin Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, Codroipo, Italy (2006).


Tuymans also curates exhibitions, and is organizing the second in a series of cross-cultural exhibitions that brings together Belgian and Chinese art. His exhibition, The State of Things: Brussels/Beijing traveled from the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium to Beijing. In 2010-2011 he was the guest curator for the inaugural Bruges Central art festival in Bruges, Belgium. In 2013, he curated an exhibition at the Albertinum in Dresden, titled "Constable, Delacroix, Friedrich, Goya. A Shock to the Senses".


Work by Tuymans is held in the public collections of various museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium; Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; and the Tate Gallery, London.[30]


Tuymans holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp, Belgium and was honored by the Belgian government when they bestowed upon him the title of Commander, Order of Leopold in 2007. In 2013, Tuymans received the amfAR Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS in recognition of his continuous support of amfAR’s programs.[31] On 3 July 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art.[32][33]

Art market

In 2005, Sculpture (2000), part of Tuymans' Mwana Kitoko: Beautiful White Man series, was sold at Christie's New York, for $1,472,000.[34]

Personal life

Tuymans is married to Venezuelan artist Carla Arocha. They live and work in Antwerp. He is good friends with fellow artist Stan Douglas, and with an older generation of American painters, such as Alex Katz, Chuck Close, Brice Marden, Ellsworth Kelly.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b Luc Tuymans, 23 June – 26 September 2004 Tate Modern, London.
  2. ^ Schjeldahl, Peter (14 November 2005), "On Tuymans". The New Yorker. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  3. ^ Eastham, Ben (8 August 2015), "A Necessary Realism: Interview with Luc Tuymans". Apollo. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Kelly Klaasmeyer (16 October 2013), "Luc Tuymans: Nice" Is Just That and Nothing More Houston Press.
  5. ^ Karen Wright (22 September 2012), In The Studio: Luc Tuymans, painter The Independent.
  6. ^ Dorothy Spears (3 February 2010), Putting the Wrongs of History in Paint New York Times.
  7. ^ Luc Tuymans MoMA Collection, New York.
  8. ^ "Projects: John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, Luc Tuymans". New York: MoMA. 26 June – 9 September 1997. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  9. ^ J. S. Marcus (3 July 2009), Luc Tuymans Captures the Moment Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ "Luc Tuymans: The Heritage" (PDF). New York: David Zwirner Gallery. 20 September – 19 October 1996. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Luc Tuymans: Forever, The Management of Magic" (PDF). New York: David Zwirner Gallery. 14 February – 22 March 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2014.
  12. ^ a b Kenneth Baker (11 March 2010), A talk with Luc Tuymans about SFMOMA show San Francisco Chronicle.
  13. ^ "Luc Tuymans: Corporate". New York: David Zwirner Gallery. 6 November – 21 December 2010. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010.
  14. ^ Gareth Harris (9 September 2009), Why paintings succeed where words fail The Art Newspaper.
  15. ^ Lindquist, Greg (May 2010). "Luc Tuymans". The Brooklyn Rail.
  16. ^ Luc Tuymans: The Rumour, 5 September — 13 October 2001 White Cube, London.
  17. ^ Mullins, Charlotte (2008). Painting People: Figure Painting Today. New York: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers. p. 150. ISBN 9781933045832.
  18. ^ Luc Tuymans Museum De Pont, Tilburg.
  19. ^ Luc Tuymans: The Arena Hatje Cantz Publishing.
  20. ^ Luc Tuymans: Against the Day, 26 December 2009 – 25 April 2010 Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Moderna Museet, Malmö.
  21. ^ Luc Tuymans, 23 June – 26 September 2004 Tate Modern, London.
  22. ^ Ludwig Seyfarth (20 June 2002), Rückkehr zur Tradition - Luc Tuymans' Beitrag zur D11 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  23. ^ a b "This Year's Biggest Art News Stories". 16 December 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  24. ^ a b c "Luc Tuymans Found Guilty of Plagiarism for Painting Photo of Politician". 20 January 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Luc Tuymans in Conversation | Ocula". ocula.com. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Luc Tuymans in Conversation | Ocula". ocula.com. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  27. ^ Aliaga, Juan Vincente; Loock, Ulrich; Spector, Nancy; and Reust, Hans Rudolf (2007). Luc Tuymans. London: Phaidon Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-7148-4298-1.
  28. ^ "Home - Dallas Museum of Art".
  29. ^ Aliaga, Juan Vincente; Loock, Ulrich; Spector, Nancy; and Reust, Hans Rudolf (2007). Luc Tuymans. London: Phaidon Press. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-7148-4298-1.
  30. ^ Aliaga, Juan Vincente; Loock, Ulrich; Spector, Nancy; and Reust, Hans Rudolf (2007). Luc Tuymans. London: Phaidon Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-7148-4298-1.
  31. ^ 2013 Honoree: Luc Tuymans Archived 27 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, Dallas
  32. ^ "Honorary Doctors". RCA. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  33. ^ "Convocation 2015". RCA [view from 18:18]. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  34. ^ Luc Tuymans, Sculpture (2000) Christie's 11 May 2005, New York.

Further reading


External links

This page was last updated at 2020-11-30 08:28, update this pageView original page

All information on this site, including but not limited to text, pictures, etc., are reproduced on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), following the . Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


If the math, chemistry, physics and other formulas on this page are not displayed correctly, please useFirefox or Safari