Louise Marie Antoinette De Hem (1866-1922) was a Belgian painter, who made still lifes, portraits, landscapes and genre scenes, mostly in the realistic style.




Portrait of Louise De Hem, 1884
Unknown photographer
Stedelijk Museum Ieper, Belgium.


Life and work
Louise De Hem was born on December 10, 1866 in Ypres as Louise Marie Antoinette Dehem, daughter of Henri Dehem and Eulalie Bartier. She spent her childhood in Ypres. Her sister Hélène married the painter Théodore Ceriez (1831-1904) who was also a teacher at the Academy of Ypres. Ceriez discovered her talent and because women were not yet admitted to the Academies, he taught her privately. In 1886 she continued her studies in Brussels. French realistic painter Jules Breton (1827-1906) saw her work and encouraged her to continue her education in Paris.
From 1887 to 1891, she lived and worked mainly in Paris, where Alfred Stevens was one of her teachers. She received many commissions from the wealthy Parisian bourgeoisie, mainly for portraits. She also often visited the open studio of Fernand Cormon. In 1889 she enrolled in the famous Académie Julian, founded in 1860 by Rodolphe Julian, whose style and classes were highly academic. At the academy she painted after living models and sometimes a nude model, which was then forbidden for women in her own country.
From the beginning of 1891 she was back in Ypres where she shared a studio with Ceriez at de Stuersstraat 33. She quickly received commissions for portraits and also made still lifes. In Paris she regularly exhibited in the Salon de la Societé des Artistes Français. She also participated in various Belgian and international exhibitions, including the Exhibition of Living Masters in the Netherlands.
In 1902 she became a member of the Women’s International Art Club. In that year she also exhibited her painting “Poverty or Ailing”. In 1904 she won a gold medal at the Salon des Artistes Françaises in Paris for her painting “The Japanese Doll” (see below).
After Ceriez’s death on September 2, 1904, she moved with her mother and sister to Vorst near Brussels. Their Art Nouveau style house had a studio and an exhibition hall.
On May 2, 1908, she married – then 41 – engineer Frédéric Lebbe, who was seven years her senior. In 1911 she was made a Knight of the Order of Leopold. She was deeply committed to the social problems and religiosity of the Flemish people, which can also be seen in some of her works.
During the First World War (1914-1918) she took part in two exhibitions in Brussels, but after this war she never painted again.
Louise died in Vorst (Brussels) on November 22, 1922. Two years later, her sister Hélène left forty-five of Louise’s paintings to the city of Ypres.

Professional education
until 1886 – private lessons from her brother-in-law Théodore Ceriez.
1886 – study in Brussels.
1887 – 1889 painting lessons from, among others, Alfred Stevens.
1889 – 1891 Académie Julian in Paris.

Exhibitions and museums
1885 – her painting “The Oysters” was exhibited in a Salon in Spa.
She has exhibited several times in the Paris Salons.
1893 – World’s Columbian Exposition (women’s building) in Chicago.
1894 – Participation in Salon in Geneva. Her melancholy painting ‘Chimères’ (Chimera).
1900 – the only Belgian painter to participate in “Women” Exhibition in London.
1904 – Gold medal in the Paris Salon for her painting The Japanese Doll (see below).
1915 – during the First World War she participated in two exhibitions in occupied Brussels.
Several of her works can be admired in the Stedelijk Museum in Ypres.

– Dewilde, Jan, Louise de Hem, Biografie, Stedelijk Museum, Ypres.
– Jordi Vigueé, Grote Meesters van de Westerse Schilderkunst Schilderessen, Zuid Boekproducties, 2003, ISBN 90 5841 035 8
– Jacobs, P. 2000. Beeldend Benelux, Tilburg: Studiecentrum Beeldende Kunst; vol. 3.
– Stighelen, K. van der, 2010. Vrouwenstreken. Tielt: uitgeverij Lannoo.
– Klarenbeek, H. 2012. Penseelprinsessen & Broodschilderessen. Bussum: uitgeverij Toth.
– Wikipedia.org





Portrait of Eulalie Dehem-Bartier, 1887
oil on canvas
46 x 38 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
Photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.






Selfportrait, 1890
pastel on paper
55 x 46 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.





Study of an old woman, 1888
Oil on canvas
56 x 45.5 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
Photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.







The Sexton, 1890
Oil on canvas
46.3 x 38.3 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
Photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.






Portrait of Hélène Ceriez-Dehem, 1892
pastel on paper
55 x 46 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
Photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.






Chimères or Chimera, 1894
Oil on canvas
148 x 120 cm.
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Photo Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts.





Portrait of Senator Arthur Surmont de Volsberghe, Mayor of Ypres
, 1899
Oil on canvas
132 x 108 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
Photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.




The Japanese Doll, 1904
Oil on canvas
98 x 130.5 cm.
Stedelijk Museum Ieper.
Photo Stedelijk Museum Ieper.


This is a selection.
If you would like to see more of Louise’s work, do check this page by Christa Zaat.