Felix De Boeck died 25 years ago, but his legacy lives on in a museum that bears his name and is located on the green domain, where he used to farm, live and paint. His farmstead, where his painter’s studio was also located, is there as if he would open the front door with the pipe in his mouth and on wooden clogs. A perfectly restored 18th century gem, where time seems to stand still.
Felix De Boeck lived in a time of fundamental change, both social and economic as well as artistic. He himself dealt with change in a rather idiosyncratic way, apart from conventions, and stubbornly went against the flow. He followed the casualness of nature, which he contemplated in a way of life. In times when there was a massive switch to more profitable low-stem fruit trees, he continued to harvest in his high-growing orchard, which was planted by his parents and grandparents. This orchard is protected today.
From Monday to Saturday he worked in the fields and made preliminary studies. On Sunday, the day of the Lord, he worked in his painter’s atelier. In his works nature is very often a source of inspiration. Populating animals and insects in his abstract landscapes indicates the starting point of what will later be called the ‘Genesis’ series. Felix also preferred to stay under the church tower of his beloved Drogenbos, which also appears frequently in his works. On 24 May 1924 De Boeck married Marieke Van Breetwater. The couple loses four children, a tragedy he expresses in his works.
‘I was looking for a livelihood as a human being in order to secure my artistry. With that intention I became a farmer. The romantic representation of Felix De Boeck as the farmer who paints could perhaps be reversed in the more down-to-earth representation of Felix De Boeck as the farmer artist. But what is a word or what is a sentence? Let some friends discuss it. Fifty years ago I chose it and I never regretted it. As a farmer I live in the open air, nature is entrusted to me and the miracle of light is a daily experience.’