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 Jef Verheyen  (1932 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: Belgium/France      Known for: painting and sculpture

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Biography from Kunsthaus Lempertz:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Jef Verheyen studied painting, drawing, and ceramics at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Higher Institute in Antwerp.  After opening a ceramics studio and shop with his wife Dani Franque, L'Atelier 14, Jef Verheyen focused more and more on painting.

During his many travels to Italy in the mid 1950s, he met the artists Piero Manzoni (1933-1963), Roberto Crippa (1921-1972) and Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), with whom he built up a life long artistic relation.  Having played an active role in founding the G 58 group in Antwerp, in the Spring of 1958, and taken part in its first exhibitions, Verheyen broke away from the group after the opening of his first show at the Hessenhuis.

There he met Günther Uecker (°1930), one of the leading figures of the ZERO movement.  ZERO, founded in 1958 by German artists Heinz Mack (°1931) and Otto Piene (1928-2014) later joined by Günther Uecker, designated a new beginning in artistic and historical terms.  Light and movement were the central point of their art.  Influenced by their ideas Verheyen's manifesto, Essentialisme (Essentialism) was published in Art Actuel International in 1959.

From 1962 Jef Verheyen participated in almost every ZERO exhibition and played an important role as the contact person for the group and the artists in Belgium including collectors, gallery owners, etc..  Verheyen died after a heart attack on the Tatami in Apt on March 2, 1984.

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