Hem, Louise de

BORN 10 Dec 1866, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen - DIED 22 Nov 1922, Vorst, Brussel

Louise de Hem grew up in Ypres. Her talent was discovered by Théodore Ceriez (1831-1904), a painter who had married her sister Hélène. Since women were not yet admitted to the academies he educated her and already in 1885 her painting "De Oesters" (The Oysters) was exhibited at a Salon in Spa. Jules Breton saw her work and encouraged her to go to Paris for further education.

From 1887 to 1891 she mostly lived in Paris, where Alfred Stevens was one of her teachers. At the private Académie Julian she painted living and sometimes nude models (at that time in Belgium still forbidden for women).

In 1891 she returned to Ypres where she shared a studio with Ceriez at the G. de Stuersstraat 33. She soon received commissions for portraits and also created still lives. In Paris she frequently exhibited at the Salon de la Societé des Artistes Français.

In 1900 she was the only Belgian painter to exhibit at the Women's Exhibition in London and in 1902 she became a member of the Women's International Club. In 1904 she won a gold medal in Paris for her painting "De Japanse Pop" (The Japanese Doll).

After Ceriez died on 2 Sep 1904 she moved to Vorst (near Brussels) with her mother and her sister, where they lived in a house designed by Blérot. On 2 May 1908 she married Frédéric Lebbe, an engineer who was seven years her senior and in 1911 she received a knighthood.

She exhibited for the last time in 1915 and didn't resume painting after the First World War. In 1922 she died at the age of 56. Hélène died five years later and left 49 of her sister's works to the city of Ypres.

Related persons
• was pupil of Stevens, Alfred


"Zelfportret" (self portrait).
   (1890, Ieper: Stedelijk Museum)

"Buitenmeisje" (A Country Girl).
   (1892, Ieper: Stedelijk Museum)

"In het atelier" (In the Studio).
   (1897, Ieper: Stedelijk Museum)

"De doos van Pandora" (Pandora's Box).
   (1910, Ieper: Stedelijk Museum)

• Dewilde, Jan, Louise de Hem, Biografie, Stedelijk Museum, Ieper

Hempel, Frieda

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 17 Nov 2018