The landscapes of Belgian artist Maurice Wiliquet are abundant with rippling grass and wavering waters, mill houses and farm homesteads sinking peaceably into their countryside surroundings. Living all his life in his homeland, Wiliquet became incredibly familiar with the natural patterns and seasonal shifts of the countryside just outside of Brussels.
Wiliquet’s artistic career began with his studies at numerous academies across Belgium. The most significant was his time at the Academy of Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode. Here he received tutelage from Henri Ottavaere (1870-1944). Significantly for Wiliquet, Ottavaere had a keen interest in impressionism. It is evident from Wiliquet’s work that this interest was passed down to him.
He often painted ‘en plein air,’ or outside, capturing the incandescent energy of nature. Wiliquet’s quick brushstrokes give movement to the water meandering along the canvas, the leaves bristling in place. Wiliquet took a large amount of inspiration from the Sonian Forest, with its towering trunks and expansive forest floor. He effectively uses colour to create shadow and depth, clearly communicating the grand scale of the woodland. It appears in his work as a cathedral of nature. Wiliquet captured the forest at all times of years, although with his use of bright colours, he shows favour to the dramatic orange splashes of autumn.
Perhaps these glorious views of the Belgian countryside offered the people of his homeland a relief from the war ripping through Europe during the 1940s. Like everyone else, Wiliquet had to adjust to wartime living and so did his artistic endeavours.
He was commissioned by American soldiers visiting his hometown of Tienen to paint their portraits to send back to their mothers and lovers in the States. These must surely have been fascinating studies, and it is a shame they are now lost to the various homes of America to which they were sent.
Throughout his life, Wiliquet was able to produce works and continue to expand his oeuvre. Alongside the grocery store he ran with his wife, Marie Louise, Wiliquet was able to set up an art gallery in Brussels to display his work. In his later years, he was also invited to participate at an exhibition in Rome and the ‘Les Arts en Europe’ showcase.
Painting seems to have been for Wiliquet as steady as the streams cutting through his many landscapes, as strong as the trees in the Sonian Forest he so cherished. He never once wavered from creating something beautiful.
Born in Neerlinter, Belgium.
Studied at the Academy of Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode, Brussels.
Studied at Sint-Lukas art school in Brussels.
Studied portrait painting at the Academy of Tienan.
Established his own art gallery in Saint-Gilles, Belgium. Took part in the international exhibition ‘Les Arts en Europe.’
Died in Laeken, Belgium.