Jean Decoen (1890-1979)

Biography

Jean Decoen was born in Brussels on 4th January 1890 and undertook his artistic training at L'Académie de Bruxelles.

He became known over the course of his career as a sculptor, art critic and authority on early art as well as being a painter who worked in several different styles depicting various subject matter including portraits, figures, nudes and landscapes. He began his professional career in 1910 showing classical sculptures. He produced some significant works in this medium including Le Baiser and Méditation, both in marble, and La Danseuse in bronze.

His painting career began in 1914 and he displayed a distinct predilection for landscapes suffused with a luminosity but also tinged with a hint of melancholy. The early work reflected the influences of the Neo-Impressionists but he adopted more sober tones and facets later on.

In his capacity as an art critic, he wrote for several periodicals and newspapers and also published a number of articles about the notorious affair concerning van Meegeren and the fake Vermeers. Decoen took the stand that a number of works purportedly attributed to van Meegeren, were in fact by the master himself as opposed to the faker.

The Museum at Tournai holds some of his works in its collection.