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Bautier, Pierre Edmond Adrien Léopold

Date born: September 10, 1881

Place Born: Péronnes-lez-Binche, Belgium

Date died: January 15, 1962

Place died: Brussels, Belgium

Curator Musée royal des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, in Brussels; maecenas. Bautier was the son of Edmond Bautier and Marie Querton. After having attended the Athénée royal at Ixelles, near Brussels, he studied law and history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. From this university he earned the degree of doctor in law and the degree of doctor in philosophy and letters. He enrolled at the Brussels Bar, but he soon left the practice of law. He instead chose a career in art history. In 1907 he was among the founders of the Société des Amis des Musées royaux de l’État in Brussels. He attended art history classes at the Brussels Musée royal de peinture et de sculpture de Belgique. The courses were created by the secretary of the Directive Committee Hippolyte Fierens-Gevaert, who became the founder, in 1910, of the Institut Supérieur d’Histoire de l’Art et d’Archéologie, housed in the museum. Under Georges Hulin de Loo Bautier specialized in Flemish painting. In 1910 he published a monograph on the Bruges painter Lancelot Blondeel, followed in 1912 by a monograph on Justus Suttermans. He had a strong attachment to the Brussels museum. In 1916 his Répertoire des portraits des Musées royaux de peinture et de sculpture appeared. After World War I, as a result of the reorganization of the museum, Bautier obtained, in 1919, the position of curator under chief curator Fierens-Gevaert.  In that year the museum was renamed Musée royal des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. Bautier became an active member of the Société des Amitiés italiennes de Belgique. With Joseph Destrée he published in 1924 a study on a Book of Hours of the Ghent-Bruges school, Les Heures dites da Costa. After Fierens-Gevaert’s death in 1926, Leo van Puyvelde was appointed as his successor, to the disappointment of Bautier who then decided to quit his position as curator. While pursuing a career as an independent art historian, he nevertheless kept playing an active role in the museum. He was a member of the Diffusion artistique, a service for the education of the general public, which offered guided tours and lectures. He also acted as a member, and later as president, of the Commission technique consultative de la peinture ancienne des Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts. His travels abroad, his international contacts, and his role as maecenas further marked his career. At home, assisted by his wife, he frequently hosted visitors. In 1930 he was involved in the organization of the Fondation nationale Princesse Marie-Josée, aimed at establishing cultural relations between Belgium and Italy. This foundation led to the creation of the Academia Belgica in Rome, in 1939. In that year he published an overview of eighteenth-century painting in L’art en Belgique du moyen âge à nos jours, edited by Paul Fierens. This overview also appeared separately in 1945, La peinture en Belgique au XVIIIe siècle. As a contributor to the Dictionnaire des peintres (1951) he was responsible for the entries on Belgian painters of the same period. He was elected a corresponding member of the Académie royale de Belgique in 1952 and a member in 1957. In 1956 he was elected president of the Fondation nationale Princesse Marie-Josée. The year before he died he was director of the Classe des Beaux-Arts of the Academy. After his death his family donated a precious collection of his art historical books to the library of the Fondation nationale Princesse Marie-Josée, housed in the Academia Belgica in Rome. MD

Home Country:  Belgium

Sources: [obituary:] Lavachery, Henry. “Hommage à sa mémoire Bulletin de la Classe des Beaux-Arts, Académie royale de Belgique, 44 (1962): 18-20; Jacques Lavalleye. Notice sur Pierre Bautier, membre de l’AcadémieAnnuaire de l’Académie royale de Belgique (1965): 296-301.

Bibliography: Lancelot Blondeel: Lancilotus, pictor brugensis praestantissimus. Brussels: G. van Oest, 1910; Juste Suttermans, peintre des Médicis. Brussels: G. van Oest, 1912; Les portraits des musées royaux de peinture et de sculpture. Brussels: G. van Oest, 1916; and Destrée, Joseph. Les Heures dites da Costa: manuscrit de l’école ganto-brugeoise, premier tiers du XVIe siècle; étude et description. Brussels: Monnom, 1924; contributor, Fierens, Paul (ed) L’art en Belgique du moyen âge à nos jours. Brussels: La Renaissance du livre, 1939, pp. 383-394; La peinture en Belgique au XVIIIe siècle. Brussels: Éditions du Circle d’art, 1945; contributor, Dictionnaire des peintres. Brussels: Maison Larcier, 1951.

Subject's name: Pierre Bautier