Paul Joostens

Paul Joostens ( June 18, 1889 Antwerp, Belgium – March 24, 1960 Antwerp, Belgium) was an painter and draftsman.

Paul Joostens wanted to be an architect, but after studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the NHISKA, he joined the avant-garde.

Around 1916 he painted cubist works and from 1919, Dadaist collages and abstract objects with materials of recovery in the style of Kurt Schwitters. With the Belgian Dadaists (Paul Neuhuys, Willy Koninck), he violently criticizes the established order, whatever it may be.

His friends are then the poet Paul van Ostaijen and the brothers Floris and Oscar Jespers. Together they found De bond zonder gezegeld paper.

Around 1925 he turned his back on the avant-garde, broke with his friends and created his own style, the “Gothic Joosten”. Inspired by Hans Memling and the Flemish Primitives, he painted numerous Madonnas and religious scenes. He then joined the art circle of religious inspiration De Pelgrim (Le Pèlerin) which aims to promote Catholic art in all its forms. However, he also paints and draws sensual young girls from the popular districts of Antwerp, which he calls his Poezeloezen. This theme will haunt his entire life. He makes collages of photographs and writes poems, diaries and other texts that have generally remained unpublished.

In the 1950s, he resumed his Dadaist assemblages. His fiery nature leads him to an isolation which he expresses in dark anthracite drawings. He died miserly and lonely.

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